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Hawkins P.,Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Journal of Neuroscience Methods | Year: 2014

Recent revisions to international legislation and guidelines on the care and use of animals in research and testing emphasise the importance of minimising suffering and improving welfare. Achieving this requires effective systems for recognising, recording, analysing and assessing animal behaviour, in order to identify relevant indicators of pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm so that any suffering can be rapidly recognised and ameliorated. Behavioural researchers can assist by disseminating information on developments in techniques and approaches for recognising, observing, monitoring, analysing and interpreting behaviour, both within their own facilities and more widely. They can also help to facilitate better welfare assessment by continuing to develop systems for measuring behaviours - including indicators of positive welfare - while also ensuring that harms within behavioural research are minimised. © 2014 Elsevier B.V. Source

Vandenabeele S.P.,University of Swansea | Shepard E.L.,University of Swansea | Grogan A.,Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals | Wilson R.P.,University of Swansea
Marine Biology | Year: 2012

Current guidelines for instrumenting birds state that external devices should not exceed 3-5% of the birds' body mass; however, the energetic consequences of carrying any given device mass are likely to vary according to the morphology and ecology of the species concerned. We used a freeware program to estimate the mechanical power requirements of flight at the minimum power speed for 80 species of flying seabird from 8 major groups with payloads of increasing mass. Devices representing 3% of the bird's body mass resulted in an increase in energy expenditure for flight ranging from 4.67 to 5.71% without accounting for the increase in body drag coefficient associated with external devices. This effect differed within and between seabird lineages with members of the Alcidae and Phalacrocoracidae experiencing the highest energetic costs of any increase in device mass. We propose that device effects on seabirds could be further reduced through consideration of species-specific effects of added payload and drag. © 2011 Springer-Verlag. Source

Jamieson J.,Lane College | Reiss M.J.,University of London | Allen D.,Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals | Asher L.,University of Nottingham | And 2 more authors.
Animal Welfare | Year: 2012

Education of children about farm animal welfare could affect welfare standards, through influence on current and future purchasing of animal products, and improve general consideration for animals. Establishing success requires evaluation. Here, a farm animal educational event for 13 to 14 year-old schoolchildren, focusing on chicken biology, welfare and food labelling, was assessed. Alterations in knowledge, attitude and a proxy measure of behaviour towards animals and their welfare, key aspects expected to impact on animal welfare, were investigated using questionnaires. These key aspects were predicted to increase following event attendance and remain higher than in the non-attending control group three months later. Knowledge and positive behaviour towards specific poultry species increased significantly in attendees but, although remaining greater than pre-attendance, tended to diminish over time. Value afforded to animal life was unaffected by the event. Consideration of welfare needs was significantly greater overall in attendees than non-attendees, but appeared to be characteristic of children choosing to attend the event, rather than the event per se. Importance attributed to animal welfare followed a hierarchy from survival-relevant, eg freedom from hunger and thirst, to less critical needs, eg stimulation. The specific species under consideration had the most significant effect on attitudes; consistent with predictions based on perceptions of the animals' 'complexity', cognitive ability, similarity to humans and use. Further investigation into the aetiology of attitude and potential barriers to attitude change is required to effect attitude change and determine whether attitude alteration could support maintenance of shifts in knowledge and behaviour. © 2012 Universities Federation for Animal Welfare The Old School. Source

Harrington L.A.,University of Oxford | Moehrenschlager A.,University of Oxford | Moehrenschlager A.,Center for Conservation Research | Gelling M.,University of Oxford | And 3 more authors.
Conservation Biology | Year: 2013

Despite differences in focus, goals, and strategies between conservation biology and animal welfare, both are inextricably linked in many ways, and greater consideration of animal welfare, although important in its own right, also has considerable potential to contribute to conservation success. Nevertheless, animal welfare and animal ethics are not always considered explicitly within conservation practice. We systematically reviewed the recent scientific peer-reviewed and online gray literature on reintroductions of captive-bred and wild-caught animals (mammals, birds, amphibians, and reptiles) to quantify the occurrence of animal welfare issues. We considered monitoring that could be indicative of the animal's welfare status and supportive management actions that could improve animal welfare (regardless of whether the aim was explicitly animal-welfare orientated). Potential welfare issues (of variable nature and extent) were recorded in 67% of 199 projects reviewed; the most common were mortality >50%, dispersal or loss of animals, disease, and human conflict. Most (>70%) projects monitored survival, 18% assessed body condition, and 2% monitored stress levels. Animal welfare, explicitly, was referred to in 6% of projects. Supportive actions, most commonly use of on-site prerelease pens and provision of supplemental food or water, were implemented in 79% of projects, although the extent and duration of support varied. Practitioners can address animal-welfare issues in reintroductions by considering the potential implications for individual animals at all stages of the release process using the decision tree presented. We urge practitioners to report potential animal-welfare issues, describe mitigation actions, and evaluate their efficacy to facilitate transparent evaluation of common moral dilemmas and to advance communal strategies for dealing with them. Currently, comparative mortality rates, health risks, postrelease stress, effectiveness of supportive measures, and behavior of individuals warrant further research to improve animal welfare in reintroductions and to increase success of such projects. © 2013 Society for Conservation Biology. Source

Main D.C.J.,University of Bristol | Mullan S.,University of Bristol | Atkinson C.,Soil Association | Cooper M.,Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals | And 2 more authors.
Trends in Food Science and Technology | Year: 2014

Certification schemes that aim to provide an assurance on animal welfare have been developed in many countries but there is no internationally agreed mechanism for recognising the equivalence of animal welfare schemes. The lack of standardisation is a complication in international trade as the lack of clarity may impede demand for products from animals reared according to specified levels of welfare. An important first step is to define a credible best practice framework for animal welfare certification schemes that could apply in any country. Schemes may aim to provide assurance on minimum levels of welfare or may also aim to promote welfare improvement within their scheme membership. It is proposed here that certification schemes wishing to make animal welfare claims could adopt a scheme level continuous improvement approach, as already used in quality and environmental certification schemes, to promote improvement at a farm level. It is suggested that this can be achieved by using the following four generic principles. Firstly the scheme can operate a management system that co-ordinates scheme activities which actively promote improvement in animal welfare within participating farms. This management system should include the following generic steps: plan (establish the objectives including desired outcomes, scheme requirements and monitoring processes), do (implement scheme inspection systems and support structures), check (measure and monitor the process and results) and improve (take action to improve performance). Secondly the scheme should develop progressive resources and outcomes requirements that comply with relevant legislation, encourage the provision of opportunities valued by the animals, promote farm level continuous improvement in important welfare outcomes and require innovation not to compromise welfare goals. Thirdly the scheme should target its assessment and support resources on important welfare concerns. Activities should include assessment of relevant welfare requirements and outcomes, promoting interest amongst farmers in their management, ensuring technical advice is available and insisting on remedial action for those farmers with consistent poor outcomes. Finally by taking an evidence-based, participatory and transparent approach the scheme should also embrace external scrutiny and involvement. © 2014 The Authors. Source

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