Universities Federation for Animal Welfare

Wheathampstead, United Kingdom

Universities Federation for Animal Welfare

Wheathampstead, United Kingdom
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News Article | May 31, 2017
Site: news.europawire.eu

NOTTINGHAM, 31-May-2017 — /EuropaWire/ — Elephants have been living alongside people for thousands of years in South East Asia and, while their proximity can often lead to conflicts over food and territory, the relationship between the two species is deeply ingrained in the culture of the region. Now, as the Asian elephant stands on the brink of extinction, an academic at The University of Nottingham, and a non-profit organisation dedicated to improving welfare for captive animals through environmental enrichment, are joining forces with those who care for these endangered animals in Thailand and elsewhere in Southeast Asia in a bid to improve the welfare of elephants living in captivity in the region. Dr Lisa Yon, a Lecturer in Zoo and Wildlife Medicine, in the University’s School of Veterinary Medicine and Science, has developed a workshop in collaboration with colleagues Valerie Hare and Deb Ng from the non-profit organisation ‘Shape of Enrichment’, which trains people in developing environmental enrichment for animals living in captivity, along with Gail Laule from the Singapore Zoo, an expert in animal training methods. Together, they are working with the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation (GTAEF) in Chiang Rai, in northern Thailand, to develop a new workshop centred around elephant welfare and wellbeing. The five-day workshop, taking place at GTAEF from 7 to 11 June, will bring together mahouts, owners and veterinarians from the region’s elephant camps to explore ways to more effectively meet the physical and emotional needs of elephants in captivity. The workshop will cover positive training methods, behaviour and welfare assessment, and environmental enrichment. Dr Yon said: “There are centuries of tradition involving elephants in this culture – they were originally used by humans in Southeast Asia on the battlefield in warfare and, more recently, in the logging industry, though this was banned in Thailand in 1989. “We are very grateful to have this opportunity to exchange knowledge and with the owners, mahouts and veterinarians at these elephant camps.  Much of the work with these elephants is based on cultural traditions handed down for centuries. We also hope to share a variety of ideas and approaches with them from our international work on elephants.” It is estimated that there are between 3,470 and 4,200 Asian elephants – Elephas maximus – living in captivity in Thailand, with the majority working in elephant camps, where tourists can pay to feed, help care for, and in some cases ride, the elephants. While many animal welfare groups and those in the tourism industry are critical of elephant tourism in Thailand and the wider region, the issue of elephants in captivity remains a very complex one. When logging was outlawed in 1989, elephant owners and their mahouts needed to find other ways of financially supporting themselves and feeding and caring for their animals, so they turned to tourism. Dr Yon added: “There is not a simple answer and we are not trying to solve all the problems at once but we feel that the elephant camps are well placed to be at the forefront of trying to improve the lives of these captive animals.” The workshop will look at ways in which some of the elephants’ natural behaviours in the wild could be accommodated in camps. Asian elephants in the wild roam over thousands of square kilometres and develop complex social relationships while living in multi-generational herds of up to 60 animals or more. While this is clearly not practical in the camp environment, the workshop will discuss changes that can be made to improve the elephants’ emotional wellbeing. Dr Yon said: “We want to work together with the mahouts and elephant camp owners who are working to ensure the positive wellbeing of these elephants. “The elephant is endangered, and within a few decades these animals could become extinct in the wild. The only ones we would then have left on the planet would be those living in captivity – we need to give those animals the best welfare possible.” The workshop has also been supported by GTAEF, Asian Elephant Support, RSPCA, Singapore Zoo, and UFAW (Universities Federation for Animal Welfare). Accommodation for the delegates is being generously provided by the five star Anantara Golden Triangle Resort. Our academics can now be interviewed for broadcast via our Media Hub, which offers a Globelynx fixed camera and ISDN line facilities at University Park campus. For further information please contact a member of the Communications team on +44 (0)115 951 5798, email mediahub@nottingham.ac.uk or see the Globelynx website for how to register for this service. For up to the minute media alerts, follow us on Twitter Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham has 43,000 students and is ‘the nearest Britain has to a truly global university, with a “distinct” approach to internationalisation, which rests on those full-scale campuses in China and Malaysia, as well as a large presence in its home city.’ (Times Good University Guide 2016). It is also one of the most popular universities in the UK among graduate employers and was named University of the Year for Graduate Employment in the 2017 The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide. It is ranked in the world’s top 75 by the QS World University Rankings 2015/16, and 8th in the UK for research power according to the Research Excellence Framework 2014. It has been voted the world’s greenest campus for four years running, according to Greenmetrics Ranking of World Universities. Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest-ever fundraising campaign, is delivering the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news… More information is available from Dr Lisa Yon in the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science, University of Nottingham, by email at lisa.yon@nottingham.ac.uk

News Article | June 22, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Europe's wild snakes could face a growing threat from a fungal skin disease that has contributed to wild snake deaths in North America, according to an international collaborative study, led by conservation charity ZSL (Zoological Society of London) alongside partners including the U.S. Geological Survey. The new study is published in the journal Scientific Reports. Caused by the fungus Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola, snake fungal disease (SFD) can lead to symptoms including skin lesions, scabs and crusty scales, which can contribute to the death of the infected animal in some cases. SFD was first recognised in wild snakes in eastern North America around a decade ago. Prior to this study, the only wild populations found to be affected had been those in the central and eastern United States. Now, an analysis of samples collected from wild snakes in the United Kingdom and the Czech Republic between 2010-2016 has confirmed the presence of the pathogen and SFD in Europe for the first time. While the disease poses no known risk to humans or livestock, scientists are calling for further research to fully understand the significance of SFD to Europe's snake populations. Lead author and wildlife veterinarian Dr. Lydia Franklinos said: "Our team at ZSL found evidence of SFD in grass snakes (Natrix natrix) from the UK and a single dice snake (Natrix tessellata) from the Czech Republic. The analysis found that the fungus strains from Europe are different to those previously identified in North America - suggesting that rather than being introduced across the Atlantic, or vice versa, the disease could have been present below the radar in European snakes for some time. "Of all terrestrial vertebrate wildlife, we probably know least about health conditions that affect reptiles such as snakes, so this study represents an important milestone and one that will hopefully encourage greater focus in understanding the threats facing these animals." Dr. Jeffrey Lorch, a microbiologist with the USGS National Wildlife Health Center and the study's co-author, said: "The fungus that causes SFD is already known to occur across the eastern half of the U.S. and infect over 20 species of snakes. Comparing how SFD affects wild snakes on different continents may help us pinpoint the factors causing the disease to emerge and help managers identify mitigation strategies." The increasing emergence of deadly fungal pathogens - including white-nose syndrome in bats, chytridiomycosis (chytrid) in amphibians and SFD in snakes - is of grave concern to wildlife disease experts worldwide. To learn more about ZSL's work on wildlife health, including citizen science opportunities, please visit: https:/ . Founded in 1826, ZSL (Zoological Society of London) is an international scientific, conservation and educational charity whose mission is to promote and achieve the worldwide conservation of animals and their habitats. Our mission is realised through our ground-breaking science, our active conservation projects in more than 50 countries and our two Zoos, ZSL London Zoo and ZSL Whipsnade Zoo. For more information visit http://www. The USGS provides science for a changing world. For more information about USGS wildlife health research, please visit the USGS National Wildlife Health Center website. Garden Wildlife Health is a collaborative project between ZSL (Zoological Society of London), the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), Froglife and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), which aims to safeguard the health of British garden wildlife by conducting research into the causes and trends of diseases in a variety of species (garden birds, amphibians, reptiles and hedgehogs), and investigating their impacts on the affected populations. The project receives funding from the UK Department for the Environment Food & Rural Affairs and Welsh Government through the Animal Plant & Health Agency's Diseases of Wildlife Scheme Scanning Surveillance Programme (Project ED1600), the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, and the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare. The UVPS Brno is the only university in the Czech Republic specializing in veterinary medicine, veterinary hygiene and ecology. The department's education and research investigates environmental damage caused by pollution and diseases which affect wildlife and livestock health. Part of the department specializes on emerging fungal diseases including white-nose syndrome in bats and chytridiomycosis in amphibians and collaborates with veterinary and nature conservation authorities. ARC is a national wildlife charity committed to the conservation of reptiles and amphibians and the disappearing habitats on which they depend, and a member of the Garden Wildlife Heath project forum. ARC shared their archive of moulted snake skins that were tested as part of this study.

Hawkins P.,Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals | Golledge H.D.R.,Universities Federation for Animal Welfare
Journal of Neuroscience Methods | Year: 2017

Rodents, particularly rats and mice, are the most commonly used laboratory animals and are extensively used in neuroscience research, including as translational models for human disorders. It is common practice to carry out scientific procedures on rats and mice during the daytime, which is the inactive period for these nocturnal species. However, there is increasing evidence for circadian and light-induced effects on rodent physiology and behaviour which may affect the validity of results obtained from mice and rats in neuroscience studies. For example, testing animals during their inactive periods may produce abnormal results due to cognitive deficits, lack of motivation to perform the task or stress from being disturbed during the resting period. In addition, conducting procedures during an animal's resting period may also pose an animal welfare issue, as procedures may be experienced as more stressful than if these were done during the active phase.In this paper we set out the need to consider the impact of time of day and lighting conditions, when scientific procedures or routine husbandry are performed, on both the welfare of mice and rats used in neuroscience research and on data quality. Wherever possible, husbandry and experimental procedures should be conducted at times of day when the animals would be active, and under naturalistic lighting conditions, to minimise stress and maximise data quality and translatability. © 2017 Elsevier B.V.

PubMed | Massey University, University of Plymouth, The Home Office UK, Free University of Berlin and 5 more.
Type: Congresses | Journal: Animals : an open access journal from MDPI | Year: 2016

Millions of laboratory animals are killed each year worldwide. There is an ethical, and in many countries also a legal, imperative to ensure those deaths cause minimal suffering. However, there is a lack of consensus regarding what methods of killing are humane for many species and stages of development. In 2013, an international group of researchers and stakeholders met at Newcastle University, United Kingdom to discuss the latest research and which methods could currently be considered most humane for the most commonly used laboratory species (mice, rats and zebrafish). They also discussed factors to consider when making decisions about appropriate techniques for particular species and projects, and priorities for further research. This report summarises the research findings and discussions, with recommendations to help inform good practice for humane killing.

Robinson R.A.,British Trust for Ornithology | Lawson B.,UK Institute of Zoology | Toms M.P.,British Trust for Ornithology | Peck K.M.,The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds | And 13 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2010

Emerging infectious diseases are increasingly cited as threats to wildlife, livestock and humans alike. They can threaten geographically isolated or critically endangered wildlife populations; however, relatively few studies have clearly demonstrated the extent to which emerging diseases can impact populations of common wildlife species. Here, we report the impact of an emerging protozoal disease on British populations of greenfinch Carduelis chloris and chaffinch Fringilla coelebs, two of the most common birds in Britain. Morphological and molecular analyses showed this to be due to Trichomonas gallinae. Trichomonosis emerged as a novel fatal disease of finches in Britain in 2005 and rapidly became epidemic within greenfinch, and to a lesser extent chaffinch, populations in 2006. By 2007, breeding populations of greenfinches and chaffinches in the geographic region of highest disease incidence had decreased by 35% and 21% respectively, representing mortality in excess of half a million birds. In contrast, declines were less pronounced or absent in these species in regions where the disease was found in intermediate or low incidence. Also, populations of dunnock Prunella modularis, which similarly feeds in gardens, but in which T. gallinae was rarely recorded, did not decline. This is the first trichomonosis epidemic reported in the scientific literature to negatively impact populations of free-ranging noncolumbiform species, and such levels of mortality and decline due to an emerging infectious disease are unprecedented in British wild bird populations. This disease emergence event demonstrates the potential for a protozoan parasite to jump avian host taxonomic groups with dramatic effect over a short time period. © 2010 Robinson et al.

Lawson B.,UK Institute of Zoology | De Pinna E.,Public Health England | Horton R.A.,Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency | Macgregor S.K.,Zoological Society of London | And 8 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2014

The importance of wild bird populations as a reservoir of zoonotic pathogens is well established. Salmonellosis is a frequently diagnosed infectious cause of mortality of garden birds in England and Wales, predominantly caused by Salmonella enterica subspecies enterica serovar Typhimurium definitive phage types 40, 56(v) and 160. In Britain, these phage types are considered highly host-adapted with a high degree of genetic similarity amongst isolates, and in some instances are clonal. Pulsed field gel electrophoresis, however, demonstrated minimal variation amongst matched DT40 and DT56(v) isolates derived from passerine and human incidents of salmonellosis across England in 2000-2007. Also, during the period 1993-2012, similar temporal and spatial trends of infection with these S. Typhimurium phage types occurred in both the British garden bird and human populations; 1.6% of all S. Typhimurium (0.2% of all Salmonella) isolates from humans in England and Wales over the period 2000-2010. These findings support the hypothesis that garden birds act as the primary reservoir of infection for these zoonotic bacteria. Most passerine salmonellosis outbreaks identified occurred at and around feeding stations, which are likely sites of public exposure to sick or dead garden birds and their faeces. We, therefore, advise the public to practise routine personal hygiene measures when feeding wild birds and especially when handling sick wild birds. © 2014 Crown Copyright.

Lawson B.,UK Institute of Zoology | Lawson B.,University of Liverpool | Robinson R.A.,British Trust for Ornithology | Neimanis A.,National Veterinary Institute | And 15 more authors.
EcoHealth | Year: 2011

Finch trichomonosis emerged in Great Britain in 2005 and led to epidemic mortality and a significant population decline of greenfinches, Carduelis chloris and chaffinches, Fringilla coelebs, in the central and western counties of England and Wales in the autumn of 2006. In this article, we show continued epidemic spread of the disease with a pronounced shift in geographical distribution towards eastern England in 2007. This was followed by international spread to southern Fennoscandia where cases were confirmed at multiple sites in the summer of 2008. Sequence data of the ITS1/5.8S/ITS2 ribosomal region and part of the small subunit (SSU) rRNA gene showed no variation between the British and Fennoscandian parasite strains of Trichomonas gallinae. Epidemiological and historical ring return data support bird migration as a plausible mechanism for the observed pattern of disease spread, and suggest the chaffinch as the most likely primary vector. This finding is novel since, although intuitive, confirmed disease spread by migratory birds is very rare and, when it has been recognised, this has generally been for diseases caused by viral pathogens. We believe this to be the first documented case of the spread of a protozoal emerging infectious disease by migrating birds. © 2011 International Association for Ecology and Health.

Lawson B.,UK Institute of Zoology | Lawson B.,University of Liverpool | Howard T.,UK Institute of Zoology | Kirkwood J.K.,Universities Federation for Animal Welfare | And 5 more authors.
EcoHealth | Year: 2010

Salmonellosis has been reported as an important cause of mortality of garden birds in several countries, including Norway and Scotland. We investigated the frequency of the disease in garden birds submitted for postmortem examination by members of the public in England and Wales between 1993 and 2003, inclusive. We found salmonellosis to be the most frequent cause of death due to infectious disease in the garden birds submitted. This disease was confirmed in 7 of the 45 bird species that were examined postmortem, with the greenfinch (Carduelis chloris) and the house sparrow (Passer domesticus) most frequently affected. Salmonella Typhimurium definitive phage type (DT) 40, DT56 variant(v), and DT160 accounted for the majority of isolates. Salmonellosis incidents chiefly occurred in the English Midlands, the English/Welsh border region, and southern England. Variation in the temporal and spatial distribution of the phage types occurred over the study period. While birds were examined throughout the year, there was a marked winter seasonality in salmonellosis. A significant sex bias was observed in affected greenfinches, with males more frequently diagnosed with salmonellosis than females. No sex bias was observed for other affected species. Further research is required to determine if salmonellosis is an important constraint to the populations of affected species and if disease outbreaks are driven by human factors, such as provisioning. © 2010 International Association for Ecology and Health.

Kirkwood J.K.,Universities Federation for Animal Welfare
Animal Welfare | Year: 2010

The 150th anniversary of the publication of The Origin of Species... is a good time to consider how selection can affect welfare - the quality of life. Darwin (1859) quoted Youatt's description of selective breeding: "...the magician's wand, by means of which he may summon into life whatever form and mould he pleases". Evolution has fairly recently included us humans in its toolbox, alongside its older instruments, such as climate and disease, as significant agents of selection. We have taken to this work vigorously and have summoned into life an extraordinary array of creatures. It is only much more recently, with the development of interest in animal welfare science, that the welfare consequences of this have begun to be critically reviewed. There are two ways that selection can affect welfare: (i) by resulting in changes that make aversive feelings more likely, eg by predisposing to disease or by altering behaviour such as to increase risk of disease or injury, and (ii) by altering sensitivity of the affect systems such that animals feel, for example, more (or less) pain or fear in response to a stimulus than their ancestors would have. Comparing natural and human selection - that is, the simultaneous scrutiny of all aspects of biology as opposed to our selection for one or two features that appeal to us - Darwin (1859) wrote: "Can we wonder, then, that nature's productions should be far 'truer' in character than man's productions; that they should be infinitely better adapted to the most complex conditions of life, and should plainly bear the stamp of far higher workmanship". The aims of this meeting were to discuss how selection can affect welfare and how we can improve our workmanship in the interests of animal welfare. © 2010 Universities Federation for Animal Welfare.

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