REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202112.0027.v2
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Animal Science, Veterinary Science And Zoology Keywords: Zoo animal welfare; Five Domains; Validity; Animal-based; Resource-based; Scoring
Online: 22 December 2021 (11:59:32 CET)
Zoos are increasingly putting in place formalized animal welfare assessment programs to allow monitoring of welfare over time, as well as to aid in resource prioritization. These programs tend to rely on assessment tools that incorporate resource-based and observational animal- focused measures since it is rarely feasible to obtain measures of physiology in zoo-housed animals. A range of assessment tools are available which commonly have a basis in the Five Domains framework. A comprehensive review of the literature was conducted to bring together recent studies examining welfare assessment methods in zoo animals. A summary of these methods is provided with advantages and limitations of the approach es presented. We then highlight practical considerations with respect to implementation of these tools into practice, for example scoring schemes, weighting of criteria, and innate animal factors for consideration. It is concluded that would be value in standardizing guidelines for development of welfare assessment tools since zoo accreditation bodies rarely prescribe these. There is also a need to develop taxon or species- specific assessment tools to inform welfare management.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202307.1950.v1
Subject: Computer Science And Mathematics, Artificial Intelligence And Machine Learning Keywords: broiler; welfare; mobility; YOLOv5; semi-supervised learning; neo-deepsort
Online: 28 July 2023 (10:31:34 CEST)
Mobility is a vital welfare indicator which may influence broilers’ daily activities. Classical broiler mobility assessment methods are laborious and cannot provide timely insights into their conditions. Here, we proposed a semi-supervised Deep Learning (DL) model, YOLOv5, combined with Deep Sort algorithm conjoined with our newly proposed algorithm, Neo-Deep Sort, for individual broiler mobility tracking. Initially, 1,650 labeled images from five days were employed to train the YOLOv5 model. Through semi-supervised learning (SSL), this narrowly trained model was then used for pseudo-labeling 2,160 images, of which 2,153 were successfully labeled. Thereafter, the YOLOv5 model was fine-tuned on the newly labeled images. Lastly, the trained YOLOv5 and the Neo-Deep Sort algorithm were applied to detect and track 28 broilers in two pens and categorized them in terms of hourly and daily traveled distances and speeds. SSL helped in increasing the YOLOv5 model’s mean Average Precision (mAP), in detecting birds, from 81% to 98%. As compared with the manually measured covered distances of broilers, the combined model provided individual broiler's hourly moved distances with a validation accuracy of about 80%. Eventually, individual and flock level mobilities were quantified while overcoming the occlusion, false and miss detection issues.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202310.0555.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Animal Science, Veterinary Science And Zoology Keywords: Animal wellbeing; Beef cattle; Good Health; Welfare assessment
Online: 10 October 2023 (12:18:18 CEST)
Pasture-based production systems are predominant in major beef-producing countries, however, these systems lack validated protocols to assess animal welfare under commercial conditions. The objective of this study was to validate an animal welfare protocol for fattening Zebu cattle farms in tropical pasture systems. The initial protocol was developed with the participation of producers, professionals, the general public, and the Colombian health authority, through workshops with a participatory approach and collaborative knowledge management. The validation was carried out in 24 pasture-based commercial Zebu cattle farms in the middle Magdalena region of Colombia. Visits were made with an average duration of 2.5 hours, which included the evaluation of 788 fattening cattle. The protocol evaluated animal-based, resource-based, and livestock management indicators through a questionnaire-guided interview to evaluate cattle handling and health, animal-based measurements, and documentation management. A protocol validation process was carried out by selecting indicators that remained unchanged, adjusting those that were feasible to implement, and eliminating inadequate or unnecessary indicators. The application of the protocol demonstrated that there are valid and feasible measures to include in the evaluation protocols of pasture-based fattening systems. Likewise, the active participation of producers is crucial to achieving a greater commitment to the implementation of this protocol.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202311.1351.v1
Subject: Public Health And Healthcare, Public Health And Health Services Keywords: health care needs; assessment methodology; shared decision-making; child welfare; preventive youth health care
Online: 21 November 2023 (15:13:56 CET)
This study presents the development and pilot implementation of an assessment and shared deci-sion-making methodology called the Gezamenlijk Inschatten van Zorgbehoeften (GIZ), designed for youth (health) care professionals working with children and families. The three-phase approach included a needs assessment, development of the GIZ methodology, and pilot implementation in a preventive youth health care and youth care setting, involving parents, adolescents, and youth (health) care professionals. The needs assessment produced nine criteria that the GIZ methodology needed to meet. Based on these criteria, the GIZ methodology was developed and described using the Template for Intervention Description and Replication (TIDieR). The pilot implementation demonstrated high client engagement, satisfaction, and feasibility in daily practice. The GIZ ap-proach promotes appropriate support for families by improving the joint assessment and shared decision-making process in youth (health) care. This study supports the implementation of GIZ in youth (health) care practice and highlights the need for further focus on implementation and sus-tainability.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202108.0405.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Anatomy And Physiology Keywords: animal welfare; pigs; deep learning; computer vision; stress detection; facial expression recognition
Online: 19 August 2021 (13:17:08 CEST)
Animal welfare is not only an ethically important consideration in good animal husbandry, but can also have a significant effect on an animal’s productivity. The aim of this paper is to show that a reduction in animal welfare, in the form of increased stress, can be identified in pigs from frontal images of the animals. We train a Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) using a leave-one-out design and show that it is able to discriminate between stressed and unstressed pigs with an accuracy of >90% in unseen animals. Grad-CAM is used to identify the animal regions used, and these support those used in manual assessments such as the Pig Grimace Scale. This innovative work paves the way for further work examining both positive and negative welfare states with a view to the development of an automated system that can be used in precision livestock farming to improve animal welfare.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202012.0109.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Animal Science, Veterinary Science And Zoology Keywords: animal welfare assessment; categorisation; beef cow systems; semi-arid rangelands; Namibia
Online: 4 December 2020 (12:36:14 CET)
The study aimed to develop standards for a welfare assessment protocol, by validating potential categorisation thresholds for assessment of beef farms in various beef cow-calf production systems in Namibia. Forty measures combined from a New Zealand-based protocol plus Namibia-specific measures, were applied on 55 beef farms (17 commercial farms, 20 semi-commercial and 18 communal village farms) during pregnancy testing, and a questionnaire guided interview. The categorised measures on a 3-point welfare score of 0: good 1: marginal and 2: poor/unacceptable welfare were subsequently compared with derivation of thresholds based upon the poorest 15% and best 50% of herds for each measure. Overall combined thresholds of continuous measures across the 3 farm types, showed 10/22 measures that posed welfare compromise across Namibia, where commercial farms had 4/22 measures and semi-commercial and communal village farms had 12/22 and 11/22 respectively with high thresholds. Most measures-imposed thresholds were retained because of significant importance to welfare of animals and preventiveness of the traits, while leniency was given to adjust good feeding and mortality measures to signify periods of drought. Handling measures (fearful, falling/lying) and abrasions thresholds were adjusted to reflect the temporary stress caused by infrequent cattle handling, and faulty yard designs/design and possible cattle breed influence on handling. Hence, the country needs prioritised investigation of underlying contributing factors and remediation to reduce the high thresholds.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202111.0196.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Animal Science, Veterinary Science And Zoology Keywords: crocodilian; animal welfare; animal-based measure; animal-based indicator; welfare assessment; welfare measure
Online: 10 November 2021 (08:46:54 CET)
Animal-based measures are the measure of choice in animal welfare assessment protocols as they can often be applied completely independently to the housing or production system employed. Although there has been a small body of work on potential animal-based measures for farmed crocodilians [1-3], they have not been studied in the context of an animal welfare assessment protocol. Potential animal-based measures, that could be used to reflect the welfare state of farmed crocodilians, were identified and aligned with the Welfare Quality® principles of good housing, good health, good feeding and appropriate behaviour. A consultation process with a panel of experts was used to evaluate and score the potential measures in terms of validity and feasibility. This resulted in a toolbox of measures being identified for further development and integration into animal welfare assessment on the farm. Animal-based measures related to ‘good feeding’ and ‘good health’ received the highest scores for validity and feasibility by the experts. There was less agreement on the animal-based measures that could be used to reflect ‘appropriate behaviour’. Where no animal-based measures were deemed to reliably reflect a welfare criterion nor be useful as a measure on the farm, additional measures of resources or management were suggested as alternatives. Future work in this area should focus on the reliability of the proposed measures and involve further evaluation of their validity and feasibility as they relate to different species of crocodilian and farming system.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202303.0076.v1
Subject: Medicine And Pharmacology, Veterinary Medicine Keywords: Dog; Canine; Catch, Neuter; Vaccinate and Return; CNVR; Dog population management; Rabies; Dog welfare; Impact assessment
Online: 3 March 2023 (14:12:03 CET)
A high intensity Catch, Neuter, Vaccinate and Return (CNVR) intervention was used over 5 years to manage the free-roaming dog population of Greater Bangkok, using nearly 300,000 CNVR operations across cover 6 Provinces. An evaluation used multiple methods to assess the impact of this intervention, including clinic data, an observational street survey, an online attitude survey and reported cases of dog rabies confirmed with laboratory testing. The evaluation found evidence of a reduction in free-roaming dog density over time (24.7% reduction over 5 years), a reduction in dog rabies cases (average reduction of 5.7% rabies cases per month) and an improvement in dog-human relationships (a 39% increase per year in free-roaming dogs with visible signs of ownership or care, and a perception of less trouble with free-roaming dogs in districts benefiting from CNVR). The CNVR intervention appears to have been effective at managing the current free-roaming dog population and minimizing one future source of free-roaming dogs by limiting breeding of dogs accessible on the streets. However, there is evidence that other sources of free-roaming dogs exist, presumed to be predominately abandoned or lost owned dogs that were previously inaccessible to the CNVR intervention because they were ordinarily confined or living outside the project area. Hence a fully effective dog population management will require further interventions targeting owned dogs in addition to this CNVR effort.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202210.0012.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Animal Science, Veterinary Science And Zoology Keywords: animal welfare; welfare range; comparative cognition; interspecies comparisons
Online: 3 October 2022 (13:03:23 CEST)
The number of animals bred, raised, and slaughtered each year is on the rise, resulting in increasing impacts to welfare. Farmed animals are also becoming more diverse, ranging from pigs to bees. The diversity and number of species farmed invites questions about how best to allocate currently limited resources towards safeguarding and improving welfare. This is of the utmost concern to animal welfare funders and effective altruism advocates, who are responsible for targeting the areas most likely to cause harm. For example, is tail docking worse for pigs than beak trimming is for chickens in terms of their pain, suffering, and general experience? Or are the welfare impacts equal? Answering these questions requires making an interspecies welfare comparison; a judgment about how good or bad different species fare relative to one another. Here, we outline and discuss an empirically-based methodology that aims to improve our ability to make interspecies welfare comparisons by investigating welfare range, which refers to how good or bad animals can fare. We begin our proposal with a theory of welfare. We operationalize that theory of welfare by identifying metrics that are defensible proxies for measuring welfare, including cognitive, affective, behavioral, and neuro-biological measures. We assign differential weights to those proxies that reflect their evidential value for the determinants of welfare, such as the “Delphi'' structured deliberation method with a panel of experts. Then we review the evidence and score its quality to ascertain whether a particular taxa may possess the proxies in question to construct a taxa-level welfare range profile. Finally, we use a Monte Carlo simulation to generate an overall estimate of comparative welfare range relative to our hypothetical index species - humans. Interspecies welfare comparisons will help facilitate empirically informed decision-making to streamline the allocation of resources and to ultimately better prioritize and improve animal welfare.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202105.0551.v1
Subject: Business, Economics And Management, Economics Keywords: international remittances; household welfare index; welfare; poverty; Bangladesh
Online: 24 May 2021 (10:12:34 CEST)
This paper mainly focuses on the construction of a household welfare index to examine the welfare impact of international remittances in rural Bangladesh. This paper, in achieving this objective, uses primary data and several methods. This paper constructs a household welfare index newly to measure the level of household welfare. Besides, a linear regression and Chi-square test is used to examine the welfare and poverty impact of international remittances, respectively. Remittance receiving households enjoy the higher level of welfare more than non-recipient households in the study area. Household welfare is augmented by 0.116 if the household is under the shade of international remittances. A significant impact of international remittances on the reduction of household poverty is also found in this study. Therefore, this paper suggests policymakers for utilizing international remittances as a significant tool to enhance household welfare and to reduce household poverty.
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Animal Science, Veterinary Science And Zoology Keywords: Aquaculture; Probiotics, Fish welfare.
Online: 14 October 2021 (10:33:01 CEST)
The health status and feed conversion efficiency of farmed fish may vary according to management and production methods. Successful aquaculture requires safeguarding the health of the growing fish and optimizing the feed conversion and therefore achieving better FCE thus reducing the amount of feed required to produce farmed fish, reducing the environmental impact generated by fish feed production and reducing aquaculture wastes generated by feed wasted or poorly digested. The present review presents illustrative examples from freshwater aquaculture that suggests the potential dual benefits of focusing on the link between feed conversion and the environmental impact of fresh water fish farms. Apart from the need to support future research on new diets for farmed fish (which is mainly driven by limits in the supply of fish protein and the results price fluctuation of all ingredients used by the aquaculture, feed industry), major improvements can be expected by optimizing feeding regimes and the application of probiotics. Aside from the economic benefits and increased production of fish farms, improved feeding regimes and probiotics are expected to have a significant impact on the welfare of farmed fish as well as on digestion efficiency and the environmental impact of fresh water fish farms.
Subject: Computer Science And Mathematics, Algebra And Number Theory Keywords: optimal taxation; welfare analysis
Online: 13 November 2020 (15:45:42 CET)
In this paper we analyze and propose new method and algorithm of selecting the optimal labor time as a function of skills following our main references Mirrlees (1971), Saez (2001) and Stancheva (2014). The optimal labor time is a situation when the utility function of individual reaches a maximum. One of the main differences with Saez (2001) is our algorithm for creation the skill distribution.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202311.0054.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Animal Science, Veterinary Science And Zoology Keywords: animal welfare; applied ethology; animal emotions; farmed animals; play behavior; positive welfare indicator
Online: 1 November 2023 (10:34:33 CET)
We aimed to assess whether play behavior can be used as a welfare indicator for farmed spotted pacas (Cuniculus paca) by examining its association with other positive welfare markers including affiliative behavior and low-amplitude vocalizations. We submitted six groups of spotted pacas (one male/two females per group) (N=18) to an ABA experimental design (A1/A2: without ball; B: with three boomer balls). Play behavior occurred only during phase B (mean=35.5s, SE=6.4). Spotted pacas spent more time in affiliative and exploratory behaviors, while they spent less time engaging in agonistic interactions during phase B than in both control phases (A1 and A2) (P<0.05). Moreover, spotted pacas emitted more low-amplitude bark vocalizations during phase B than during either control phase (P<0.05), which have previously been shown to indicate a positive affective state and low arousal level. Because the expression of play was associated with a decrease in aggression, an increase in affiliative behavior, and an increase in low-amplitude barking, indicating thus a positive state, we suggest that play behavior can be used as a non-invasive indicator of positive welfare in this species.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201907.0065.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Animal Science, Veterinary Science And Zoology Keywords: polo; GPS; pony welfare; horse
Online: 3 July 2019 (11:54:40 CEST)
Global positioning systems (GPS) have recently been shown to reliably quantify the spatiotemporal characteristics of Polo, with the physiological demands of Polo play at low and high goal levels also investigated. This study aimed to describe the spatiotemporal demands of Polo across 0 – 24 goal levels. A player worn GPS unit was used to quantify distance, speed and high intensity activities performed. Data was divided into chukkas and five equine-based speed zones, grouped per cumulative player handicap and assessed using standardised mean differences. Average distance and speed per chukka increased in accordance with cumulative player handicap, with the magnitude of differences being Trivial – Large and Trivial – Very Large, respectively. Differences between time spent in speed zones 4 and 5 show a linear increase in magnitude, when comparing 0 goal Polo to all other levels of play (Small – Very Large; 6 – 24 goals, respectively). High intensity activities predominantly shared this trend, displaying Trivial – Large differences between levels. These findings highlight the increasingly demanding cardiovascular, anaerobic and speed-based needs of Polo ponies as playing level increases. Strategies such as high intensity interval training, maximal speed work and aerobic conditioning may be warranted to facilitate this development and improve pony welfare and performance.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202307.1279.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Animal Science, Veterinary Science And Zoology Keywords: One welfare; animal welfare; animal shelter; animal hoarding; hoarders; companion animals; seized animals; challenges.
Online: 25 July 2023 (13:14:27 CEST)
Animal hoarding is a complex issue that, when discovered, frequently necessitates opening shelter doors to many animals. This is due to hoarders' inability to provide even the most basic welfare standards for their animals, resulting in poor welfare conditions that frequently border on mis-treatment. These people are frequently unaware of their failure to care for their animals, as well as of the harm that they cause to people around them and the environment. They usually don't care for themselves either. The majority of hoarders have difficult histories, and they all need help get-ting back on track. Meanwhile, when the agencies discover the status quo, the animals are usually seized and taken to shelters, where they face a variety of welfare consequences, beginning with confinement in an unknown environment that is associated with additional risks (e.g., infectious diseases, behavioral deterioration, and distress). Furthermore, the targeted shelters are frequently overcrowded and cannot adequately accommodate the large number of animals found in hoard-ers' environments. The One Welfare approach, which is increasingly being used alongside One Health to work at the intersection of human and animal health and welfare, could be adopted to benefit animals while also addressing the poor states of humans. This concept’s depiction of the interconnections between animal welfare, human wellbeing, and the environment can fit with all the components of the animal hoarding phenomenon, including the peculiarities of the hoarding environment as well as those of shelters where animals are often moved. The purpose of this paper is to offer insights into how the One Welfare concept may be critical in tackling all of the interests concerned in these cases and offering solutions.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202009.0722.v1
Subject: Business, Economics And Management, Accounting And Taxation Keywords: social expenditure; welfare; vulnerability; household; poverty
Online: 30 September 2020 (04:11:49 CEST)
We estimate the effect of household social expenditure on vulnerability to poverty using the four latest cross-sectional waves of Ghana Living Standard Survey (GLSS) from 1999 to 2017. Using a 3-Stage Least Square and Quantile Regression, our results show a widening consumption ex-post welfare gap between the poorest households and the non-poor households in a per-cedi social expenditure. Also, we estimate the probability of an ex-ante poverty using vulnerability to expected poverty. The results, however, indicate that regardless of poverty status, household vulnerability to poverty increased consistently between 1999 and 2017, and the very poor households showing the severest vulnerability. Hence, it is concluded that social expenditure increases the chances of a poor household falling into chronic poverty a non-poor household into transient poverty in the future.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201908.0308.v1
Subject: Medicine And Pharmacology, Veterinary Medicine Keywords: horse; equine; Polo; GPS; horse welfare
Online: 29 August 2019 (08:37:57 CEST)
Polo is an equestrian team sport, consisting of Open and Women’s only handicapping systems. As cumulative player handicap increases in Open Polo, distance covered, average speeds and high intensity work performed per chukka also increase. These activities may differ in terms of distribution of, and their affect upon, match outcome in Women’s Polo, and thus have implications for equine preparation and management. This study aimed to quantify spatiotemporal differences between Open and Women’s Polo when matched for handicap and assess their affect upon chukka and match outcome using a prospective cohort design. Distance, speed and high intensity activity data were collected via player worn global positioning system (GPS) units during 16-goal Open and Women’s Polo tournaments. Notational analysis quantified chukka duration and chukka and game outcomes. Between group differences were assessed by independent samples t-tests, and two factor mixed effects ANOVA for within group analyses. Between group differences were analysed using an independent samples t-test with alpha defined a priori as p<0.05. Open and Women’s Polo differed by a small to large extent (ES: 0.54 – 1.81) for all spatiotemporal metrics. In Open Polo, players covered moderately more distance (429.0m; 238.9m to 619.0m), with small to large increases in high intensity activities performed in games won. Whereas in Women’s Polo, moderately higher maximum speeds were attained in games won (17.13 km/h; 11.86 km/h to 22.40 km/h) and a small increase in accelerations performed (5.1; 0.2 to 10.0). Open and Women’s Polo, when matched for handicap, present with small to large spatiotemporal differences that are likely of practical significance, and influence game outcome differently between codes. These differences do not necessarily mean that Polo ponies need to be trained differently for each code.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202306.2077.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Education Keywords: multicultural families; social welfare; special education teachers and instructors; social welfare for multicultural individuals; children with disabilities
Online: 29 June 2023 (09:42:43 CEST)
This paper uses a qualitative case study to investigate the experiences of Korean special education teachers who instruct children with disabilities from multicultural families. Through a purposive sampling method, study participants were chosen from a pool of individuals that the Korean multicultural support center recommended. These individuals are special teachers who are currently teaching children with disabilities from multicultural families. The qualitative case study approach used in this study seeks to elicit the participants’ experiences of teaching their students with special needs. The teachers’ experiences were analyzed and categorized into two main categories: 1) a mother's lack of Korean linguistic ability and 2) governmental and societal support for multicultural special education. Additionally, results also produced four sub-categories and seventeen minor categories. Such analyses lead to a greater understanding of the intricacies of educating children with special needs. Lastly, the implications of this study provide direction for future policy--including social welfare and educational support—that will meet the needs of multicultural families raising children with disabilities.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202208.0247.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Animal Science, Veterinary Science And Zoology Keywords: animal welfare; pain; farm animals; Pain-Track; Cumulative Pain; pain assessment; welfare foot-print; time; interspecific comparisons
Online: 15 August 2022 (03:57:59 CEST)
We describe a recently developed approach to quantify welfare loss in animals, the Cumulative Pain metric. It combines the two most relevant dimensions of negative affective experiences: intensity and duration. The metric enables estimating the time individuals spend in negative affective states of a physical or psychological nature (operationally referred to simply as ‘pain’) of different intensities as the result of one or more challenges (e.g., diseases, injuries, deprivations). A new notation protocol (the Pain-Track) is used in which the duration of the experience is represented along the horizontal axis and intensity is represented by four categories in the vertical axis. Pain experiences are partitioned into temporal segments, where hypotheses for the experienced duration and intensity are proposed based on existing welfare indicators (e.g., neurophysiological, behavioral, anatomical, evolutionary). This structure forces transparency about assumptions and uncertainties, highlights knowledge gaps, and enables estimates to be continuously adjusted. Because the Cumulative Pain metric is based on parameters with a broadly common biological meaning, it provides the much needed interoperability among assessments of animal welfare. It enables comparing the impact of practices and living conditions, policies and interventions, and the calculation of welfare footprints of animal-sourced products using a universal measurement unit.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202309.1766.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Animal Science, Veterinary Science And Zoology Keywords: animal welfare; photoreceptor; light; circadian; laboratory animal
Online: 26 September 2023 (08:41:01 CEST)
Light enables vision and exerts widespread effects on physiology and behaviour, including regulating circadian rhythms, sleep, hormone synthesis, affective state, and cognitive processes. Appropriate lighting in animal facilities may support welfare and ensure that animals enter experiments in a controlled physiological and behavioural state. Proper consideration of light during experimentation - both when it is explicitly employed as an independent variable and as a general feature of the environment - has the potential to provide more informative experimental designs and more reliable outcomes, contributing to Reduction and Refinement, helping to ensure more ethical animal use, and improving data quality. As such, it is unfortunate that ambient light for animals is typically quantified in units (lux) designed for human observers. We report the consensus views of an expert working group, with expertise spanning mammalian photobiology, neurobiology and animal husbandry and welfare, convened in February 2023 to agree upon metrics for light appropriate for non-human mammals and their application to improve animal welfare and the quality of animal research. We conclude that species-specific versions of the recently standardised a-opic metrology represent the best available approach to quantifying light. We provide methods for measuring these quantities; practical guidance for their implementation in husbandry and experimentation; and quantitative guidance on appropriate light exposure for laboratory mammals.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202305.1394.v1
Subject: Public Health And Healthcare, Public Health And Health Services Keywords: Rural; well-being; infant welfare; risk factors
Online: 19 May 2023 (07:35:31 CEST)
Children from rural areas face numerous possibilities for neurodevelopmental conditions that may compromise their well-being and optimal development. Neuropsychology and electroencephalography (EEG) have shown strong agreement in detecting correlations between these two variables and suggest an association with specific environmental and social risk factors. The present meta-analysis aims to integrate the qualitative and quantitative EEG findings, their relationship with cognitive impairment in children living in vulnerable or rural environments, and the main risk factors influencing EEG abnormalities. The method for this purpose was based on a systematic string-based review from Ebscohost and Web of Science, following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA). Qualitative and quantitative analyses were conducted from the outcomes that complied with the selected criteria. A total of 92 records were identified; however, only 20 were eligible, considering 11 for qualitative and 9 for quantitative analysis. The findings highlight a significant amount of literature on EEG and its relation with cognitive impairment from studies in children with epilepsy and malnutrition. In general, there is evidence about the advantages of implementing EEG diagnosis and research techniques in children living under risk conditions. Further research is needed to better describe and integrate the state of the art regarding EEG features extraction.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202101.0072.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Sociology Keywords: Employment; Governance Indicators; Oil Economy; Reforms; Welfare
Online: 5 January 2021 (10:28:29 CET)
Many countries are raising questions on the intentions behind Saudi reforms. The low oil prices in 2008-09 were the awakening call for Saudis, and later in 2014, it became the reason to look for the economy that is less dependent on oil. The article studies the initiated social reforms and social impact of foreign cultural activities. It scrutinizes the Saudi social fabric under the social exchange theory and looks for the positive and negative effects of cultural exchanges. The paper also considers the COVID-19 situation in KSA as it has broken the chain of cultural events planned all over the country to promote tourism and improve the image of KSA.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202011.0473.v1
Subject: Business, Economics And Management, Accounting And Taxation Keywords: Poverty; Education; Economic Policy; Social Welfare; Investment
Online: 18 November 2020 (12:04:00 CET)
Underpinned by the research works on private returns on education in developing nations that have found a positive correlation between earning and subsequent level of schooling, this paper presents a concept of an investment policy which will help the impoverished children in becoming economically successful through systematic funding of their educational needs with an obligation of interest adjusted returns.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202011.0247.v1
Subject: Medicine And Pharmacology, Immunology And Allergy Keywords: beef cow welfare; reproductive performance; New Zealand
Online: 6 November 2020 (15:38:20 CET)
One key area where animal welfare may relate to productivity is through reproductive performance. Welfare was assessed on 25 extensively managed pastoral New Zealand beef farms and the relationship between welfare and reproductive performance was explored. Relationships between welfare measures and key reproductive performance indicators (pregnancy rate, weaning rate, mating period and bull: cow ratio) were investigated using an exploratory Principal Components Analysis and linear regression model. Seven welfare measures (thinness, poor rumen fill, dirtiness, blindness, mortality, health checks of pregnant cows and yarding frequency/year) showed potential influence on reproductive performance, and lameness was retained individually as a potential measure. Mean pregnancy rates in both 2018 (PD18) and 2017 (PD17) were ~91% and mean weaning rate was 84%. Of the welfare measures, only lameness had a direct association with pregnancy rate, as well as confounding effect on the association between mating period and pregnancy rate. The bull: cow ration (mean 1:31) and reproductive conditions (dystocia, abortion, vaginal prolapse) did not influence pregnancy and weaning rates. In the study population there was no clear association between welfare and reproductive performance, except for the confounding effects of lameness.
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Animal Science, Veterinary Science And Zoology Keywords: animal suffering; animal welfare; fires; wild animals
Online: 28 August 2020 (08:50:40 CEST)
Animals living in the wild are exposed to numerous challenges, such as fires, that can lead to animal suffering. The impacts of fire have been studied in different branches of ecology, but studies of its effects on the welfare of individual animals remain scarce. The current review aims to synthesize a sample of relevant aspects regarding fire’s negative effects on wild animals. This review provides a better understanding of how fire compromises animal welfare, providing an example of how to use the knowledge gathered in ecology studies to examine the welfare of wild animals. It can help raise concern for the situation of wild animals as individuals, and to develop the field of welfare biology, by identifying promising future lines of research. The fundamentals of carrying out future work to design protocols for rescuing animals or preventing the harms they can suffer in fires is also explored.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201907.0333.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Animal Science, Veterinary Science And Zoology Keywords: correlated response; pre-weaning; survival; weight; welfare
Online: 29 July 2019 (09:40:36 CEST)
A divergent selection experiment on environmental sensitivity was performed in rabbits. The aim of this study was to estimate the correlated response in kits’ weight and its survival, and weight distance from birth to weaning. Weight distance was calculated as the absolute values of the differences between the individual value and the mean value of its litter. Also, relationship between probability of survival at 4 d of age and weight at birth was studied. Environmental sensitivity was measured as litter size variability. A total of 2484 kits from 127 does of the low line (selected for reducing litter size variability) and 1916 kits of 114 does of the high line (selected for increasing litter size variability) of the 12th generation were weighed. Bayesian methodology was used to estimate the correlated response to selection, and LOGISTIC procedure of SAS was used to estimate the relationship between weight and probability of survival. Both lines showed similar individual weight at birth and at weaning, and similar survival at birth and at 4 d of age. Survival at weaning was higher in the low line than in the high line (0.67 and 0.62; P= 0.93). Weight distance was higher at birth but lower at weaning in the low line (47.8 g and 54.1 g; P=0.98). Kit’s weight at birth affected its survival. In conclusion, selection for environmental sensitivity showed correlated response in kits survival and in homogeneity of litter weight at weaning.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201703.0048.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Sociology Keywords: animal welfare; attitudes; chicken; knowledge; consumption; poultry
Online: 8 March 2017 (07:35:54 CET)
Little is known about public knowledge of meat chicken production and how it influences attitudes to birds’ welfare and consumer behaviour. We interviewed 506 members of the public in SE Queensland, Australia, to investigate this. Knowledge was assessed from 15 questions, and low scores were supported by respondents’ self-assessed report of low knowledge levels and agreement that their knowledge was insufficient to form an opinion about which chicken products to purchase. Older respondents and single people without children were most knowledgeable. There was uncertainty about whether chicken welfare was adequate, particularly in those with little knowledge. There was also evidence that lack of empathy towards chickens related to lack of knowledge, since those that thought it very acceptable that some birds are inadequately stunned at slaughter had low knowledge scores. More knowledgeable respondents ate chicken more frequently and were less likely to buy products with accredited labelling. Approximately half of the respondents thought the welfare of the chicken to be more important than the cost. It is concluded that the public’s knowledge has an important connection to their attitudes and consumption of meat chickens. Respondents with little knowledge demonstrated that they had both lack of empathy and intolerance to religious slaughter practices.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202312.0082.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Animal Science, Veterinary Science And Zoology Keywords: Invertebrates; welfare; ethics; religious values; moral standing; sentience
Online: 1 December 2023 (13:36:15 CET)
Ethical behaviour tends to lead to welfare consideration of animals, but much less so for invertebrates. Indigenous tradition often valued all animals having an important role in the life on the planet, a practical application of modern ecology. The Judaeo-Christian-Islamic tradition postulated ‘man’ as having dominion over all the earth, resulting in anthropocentrism and careless practices. In contrast, the Buddhist/Hindu beliefs in rebirth leads to ahisma or doing no harm. In the face of capitalist systems, practice does not necessarily follow these beliefs, especially in the ‘shepherding’ of domestic animals. Only the Jainist beliefs value the lives of all invertebrates. Philosophers are often divorced from the physiological reality of the animals they muse about and science’s traditions of objectivity and the simplest possible explanation of behaviour led to ignorance of invertebrates’ abilities. With the new information about sentience in some of these animals, moral standing and welfare consideration has sometimes been extended to invertebrates, but we have a long distance to go to consider recognition and care of all these 97% of the animals on the planet.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202307.0356.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Animal Science, Veterinary Science And Zoology Keywords: Soybean; coping style; welfare; prebiotic; non-starch polysaccharides
Online: 10 July 2023 (14:20:33 CEST)
The aquaculture sector has become increasingly reliant on soybean meal (SBM) and soy-derived proteins, because of their large abundance, low price and favorable amino acid profile. However, for Atlantic salmon, a major aquaculture species, the inclusion of soybean meal, and soy protein concentrate (SPC) in certain combinations has adverse impacts on its gut health and welfare. This study evaluated two enhanced SBM targeting improved gut health for inclusion in freshwater phase salmon diets, enzyme pre-treatment (ETS) and addition of fructose oligosaccharide (USP), respectively in comparison to untreated soybean meal (US) and fish meal (FM). The impact on growth performance, gut microbiome, and behaviors relevant to welfare was investigated. Both enhancements of SBM were found to support comparable growth performance to FM. Both targeted treatments altered the gut microbiome community. Fish fed SBM showed a tendency for more reactive behavior compared to those fed the FM-based control. All fish had a similarly low response to elicited stress, although ETS fed fish responded more actively than those fed the US diet. SBM fed fish also had lower repeatability of behavior, which may have implications for welfare. Both enhancements provide a promising basis to optimize the application of this widely used protein source.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202210.0444.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Animal Science, Veterinary Science And Zoology Keywords: reptile; tortoise; welfare; diversity index; behaviour; enrichment; ethogram
Online: 28 October 2022 (08:28:08 CEST)
Reptile behaviour and welfare are understudied in comparison with mammals. In this study, behavioural data on three species of tortoises were recorded before and after an environmental change which was anticipated to be positive in nature. The environmental changes differed for each population, but included a substantial increase in enclosure size, the addition of substrate material, and a change in handling procedure. A tortoise-specific ethogram was created to standardise data collection. Focal behaviour sampling was used to collect behavioural data. Changes in the duration of performance of co-occupant interaction and object interaction in the leopard (Stigmochelys pardalis) and Aldabra (Aldabrachelys gigantea) tortoises were observed following the environmental changes. The Shannon-Weiner’s diversity index did not yield a significant increase after the changes but had a numerical increase which was relatively greater for the leopard tortoise group, which had experienced the greatest environmental change. The leopard tortoises also demonstrated changes in a greater number of behaviours compared to the other species, and this was sustained over the study period. However, this included a behaviour indicative of negative affect; aggression. Whilst we are unable to conclude that welfare was improved by the management changes, there are suggestions that behavioural diversity increased, and some promotion of positive social behaviours occurred.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201810.0430.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Sociology Keywords: neoliberalism; social welfare; crisis; maintenance role; critical activity.
Online: 18 October 2018 (17:14:19 CEST)
Background: The financial austerity policy imposed to Portugal by Troika - the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund in 2011, led to a tremendously social crisis. Under these dominant trends in Europe, which were felt especially in certain countries, such as Portugal, we feel ourselves forced into an analysis and reflection on the impact of this conjuncture in social workers, especially analyzing the role played by social workers and its critical consciousness relative to this neoliberal model and imposed austerity policies. Methods: This article results from an analysis of empirical data collected after the entry of Troika in Portugal, during 2013. Were conducted 26 in-depth interviews to front line social workers, with the purpose of obtaining a narrative of their daily work practice and with the concern of encouraging reflection on them. Results: Analysis shows the predominance of a maintenance role at the expense of more emancipatory approaches and thus, this results point to the relationship of this maintenance role with the sociological paradigm of social regulation and shows also, how social work is still attached to a conservative agenda. Secondly, one finds a weak critical reflection among social workers, being very afraid to speak out against the system, taking on a submissive attitude and subservient to the policies of social cuts imposed. The analysis then raises the challenge for social workers to develop a critical reflexivity Conclusion: The results highlight several important observations in terms of social woker role and that a critical activity is urgently required to social workers.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints201710.0150.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Animal Science, Veterinary Science And Zoology Keywords: refinement; mouse welfare; mouse husbandry; mouse aggression; male mice; social organisation; group housing; single housing; animal husbandry; animal welfare; animal management
Online: 24 October 2017 (03:29:02 CEST)
It is widely recommended to group house male laboratory mice because they are ‘social animals’, but male mice do not naturally share territories and aggression can be a serious welfare problem. Even without aggression, not all animals within a group will be in a state of positive welfare. Rather, many male mice may be negatively affected by the stress of repeated social defeat and subordination, raising concerns about welfare and also research validity. However, individual housing may not be an appropriate solution, given the welfare implications associated with no social contact. An essential question is whether it is in the best welfare interests of male mice to be group- or singly-housed. This review explores the likely impacts, positive and negative, of both housing conditions, presents results of a survey of current practice and awareness of mouse behaviour, and includes recommendations for good practice and future research. We conclude that whether group- or single-housing is better (or less worse) in any situation is highly context-dependent according to several factors including strain, age, social position, life experiences, and housing and husbandry protocols. It is important to recognise this and evaluate what is preferable from animal welfare and ethical perspectives in each case.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202311.1432.v1
Subject: Public Health And Healthcare, Public Health And Health Services Keywords: animal welfare; 3Rs; neuroscience research; neurological disorders; transgenic models
Online: 23 November 2023 (02:31:16 CET)
Since alternative methods (AAs), such as in vitro cultures, organs in silico, or mathematical methods, are not fully able to reproduce the complexity of the human organism, particularly neu-ral processes, and brain structures, animal experimentation remains the only way in which re-search can obtain the necessary knowledge to suggest drug therapies or targeted therapeutic in-terventions. Particularly in neuroscience, transgenic animals allow us to model neurological dis-eases, study the relationship between the brain and behavior, and decipher the function of genes involved in pathological conditions. However, it should never be forgotten that animals are "sen-tient beings" capable of feeling pleasure and pain (Art. 13 of the 2007 Lisbon Treaty). For this rea-son, it is crucial to prioritize the welfare of animals involved in testing by considering their phys-ical, psychological, adaptive, and relational well-being. This is where the concept of a Culture of Care comes in, where the responsibility of care extends beyond the veterinary aspects to include everything that can safeguard the welfare of animals before, during, and after experimentation. This chapter explains the advantages of using the animal model while practicing the culture of care in neuroscience, as both animals and research outcomes benefit from this approach.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202306.1456.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Sociology Keywords: meaning; purpose; development; residential care; child welfare system; resilience
Online: 20 June 2023 (15:09:49 CEST)
The study follows the interaction between the individual and the social context regarding the development of adolescents protected in residential houses from the child protection system in Iasi County, Romania. Starting from the evidence that in situations of providing relatively identical material and social resources, the results obtained by these children vary greatly, we examine how the meaning (understood mainly as purpose and mattering) can constitute a developmental resource. Considering theoretical models and previous research, the study aims to describe, through a qualitative approach, how these young people see themselves and the external environment (family and residential care), how they project their future (their purpose and objectives), and how these constructions and perceptions can influence their quality of life and social integration. We conducted three focus groups with 35 adolescents and young people (the ages 13-21) protected in and for different periods in residential houses (period 1-20 years). The results highlighted that a specific meaning is reconfigured as compensatory when affected by a trauma or adverse external event and thus can be a resource for resilience. On the other hand, the research highlighted that only the existence of goals alone is insufficient to generate action, and the unrealistic meanings given to own persons, experiences, and resources can be dangerous.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202007.0738.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Other Keywords: animal representation; animal-based foods; marketing; eggs; hen welfare
Online: 31 July 2020 (08:19:40 CEST)
How a species is represented by marketers of animal-based products both reflects and shapes how consumers think about that animal. By examining the explicit statements, and implicit messages encoded in the imagery on supermarket egg boxes, this paper explores how hens are represented by whole egg retailers. Content analysis reveals two prominent messages purveyed through eggbox graphics, namely those pertaining to hen welfare and human health. The later disenfranchises hens from their products by focusing on the nutritional value of eggs, whereas the former reflects a public concern for the welfare of egg-laying hens. Although claims of improvements in welfare practices are undoubtedly exploited as marketing tools, they serve to raise awareness and drive competitors to adopt similar practices. Welfare claims are a direct response to public concerns about the plight of hens, and may positively influence industry welfare standards. However, idyllic depictions displayed on eggboxes also lull consumers into the belief that those eggs are an ethically sound food choice, regardless of the actual standard of living experienced by the hens.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints201909.0119.v1
Subject: Business, Economics And Management, Economics Keywords: Poverty alleviation; poverty analysis; depressed areas; welfare; regional policy
Online: 11 September 2019 (13:01:05 CEST)
Poverty alleviation is a hallmark of post-revolution Chinese policymaking. Since 1978, the Communist Party of China (CPC) has implemented successive waves of poverty alleviation policies whose effects have become the focus of an ever-increasing body of academic literature. This paper reviews this diverse but limited literature that evaluates the impact of the CPC’s poverty reduction programs through four major channels, namely fiscal investment programs, social safety nets, rural governance on the village-, county- and provincial level, and the relocation of rural populations from destitute regions. This paper aims to synthesize results and evaluate whether and how the abovementioned poverty alleviation programs have had distinct positive or negative impacts on regional development outcomes. Furthermore, I highlight contradictions in empirical findings to motivate the discussion about contextual importance when designing and implementing future poverty alleviation programs. Finally, I suggest that an exhaustive and critical appraisal of the empirical strategies used in this literature would further the development and application of more accurate and informative methodologies.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202311.0672.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Ecology, Evolution, Behavior And Systematics Keywords: wildlife survey; urban ecosystems; animal welfare; computer vision; automatic counting
Online: 10 November 2023 (07:29:00 CET)
The overpopulation of feral pigeons in Hong Kong has significantly disrupted the urban ecosystem, highlighting the urgent need for effective strategies to control their population. In general, control measures should be implemented and re-evaluated periodically following accurate estimations of feral pigeon population in the concerned regions, which, however, is very difficult in urban envi-ronments due to the concealment and mobility of pigeons within complex building structures. With the advances in deep learning, computer vision can be a promising tool for pigeon monitoring and population estimation but has not been well investigated so far. Therefore, we propose an improved deep learning model based on Mask-RCNN (Swin-Mask R-CNN) for feral pigeon detection using computer vision techniques. Specifically, our model consists of a Swin transformer network (STN) as the backbone, a feature pyramid network (FPN) as the neck, and three decoupled detection heads. The STN is utilized to extract deep feature information of feral pigeons through local and cross-window attention mechanisms. The FPN is employed to fuse multi-scale features and enhance the multi-scale learning ability. Heads in the three branches are responsible for classification, pre-dicting best bounding boxes, and segmentation of feral pigeons, respectively. During the prediction phase, a Slicing Aided Hyper Inference (SAHI) tool is employed to zoom in on the feature infor-mation of small feral pigeon targets, and the segmentation head is frozen to expedite inference of large images. Experiments were conducted on feral pigeon dataset to evaluate model performance. The results reveal that our model is well-suited for detecting small targets in high-resolution images and achieves excellent recognition performance for feral pigeons with a mAP (mean average pre-cision) and an AP50 (average precision at 50% intersection over union) of 0.74 and 0.93, respectively. For small target feral pigeons, AP50 in small scale (AP50s) improved by 10% as compared to the Mask R-CNN (AP50s of 0.75), demonstrating its potential for dynamic pigeon detection and population estimation in the future.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202202.0097.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Endocrinology And Metabolism Keywords: Captive breeding; endangered; red panda; reproductive hormone; stress hormone; welfare
Online: 7 February 2022 (16:07:29 CET)
Animals in human care are affected by stressors that can ultimately reduce fitness. When reproduction is affected, endangered species’ conservation programmes can be severely compromised. Thus, understanding factors related to stress and reproduction, and measures of related hormones, are important to ensure captive breeding success. Red pandas are endangered and populations in the wild are threatened with extinction. A global captive breeding programme has been launched to conserve the species with the goal of reintroduction. However there is little informaiton on how stressors impact reproductive aspects of the species. This study measured fecal glucocorticoid (fGCM), fecal progestagen (fPM) and fecal androgen (fAM) metabolite concentrations in 12 female and 8 male red pandas (Ailurus fulgens fulgens) at three zoos in northeastern India to determine predictors of adrenal and gonadal steroid activity and the influence of fGCM on reproduction. Results indicated that fGCM concentrations were higher in males than females, and positively correlated with number of visitors, while negatively related to frequency of feedings and enclosure area. Sex, visitor number, frequency of feeding, and enclosure area explained 67% of the variations in fGCM concentrations in the study population. Concentrations of fPM were positively associated with tree density in the enclosure, explaining 47% of the variation among females. For fAM, positive associations were found with frequency of feeding, but concentrations were negatively related to age and number of visitors; these three covariates explained 45% of the variation in fAM concentration among males. Comparison of fGCM with fPM showed a negative trend, indicating increasing adrenal hormones may decrease reproductive function among female red pandas. The study thus suggests that zoo management should consider increasing feeding frequency, providing larger enclosures with more trees, and regulating visitor numbers to reduce stress and increase reproductive fitness among red pandas.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202107.0663.v1
Subject: Engineering, Automotive Engineering Keywords: equine; arenas; sand; base layers; portable tools; safety; equine welfare
Online: 29 July 2021 (14:07:06 CEST)
Quantitative measurements of performance parameters has the potential to increase consistency and enhance performance of the surfaces as well as to contribute to the safety of horses and riders. This study investigates how factors known to influence the performance of the surface, incorpo-ration of a drainage package, control of the moisture control, and introduction of a geotextile reinforcement, affect quantitative measurements of arena materials. The measurements are made by using affordable lightweight testing tools which are readily available or easily constructed. Sixteen boxes with arena materials at a consistent depth were tested with the Going Stick (GS), both penetration resistance and shear, the impact test device (ITD), and the rotational peak shear device (RPS). Volumetric moisture content (VMC %) was also tested with time-domain reflectometry (TDR). Results obtained using GS, RPS, ITD, and TDR indicate that the presence of the drainage package, moisture content, and geotextile addition were detected. Alterations due to combinations of treatments could also be detected by GS, ITD, and TDR. While the testing showed some limi-tations of these devices, the potential exists to utilize them for quality control of new installations as well as for the monitoring of maintenance of the surfaces.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202012.0101.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Biochemistry And Molecular Biology Keywords: animal welfare assessment; beef cow systems; semi-arid rangelands; Namibia
Online: 4 December 2020 (11:11:53 CET)
A proposed animal welfare assessment protocol for semi-arid rangeland-based cow-calf systems in Namibia combined 40 measures from a protocol developed for beef cattle in New Zealand with additional Namibia-specific measures. Preliminary validation of the protocol had been undertaken with five herds in one semi-commercial village. The aim of the current study was to apply this protocol and compare animal welfare across three cow-calf production systems in Namibia. A total of 2529 beef cows were evaluated during pregnancy testing in the yards of 17 commercial, 20 semi-commercial and 18 communal (total: 55) herds followed by an assessment of farm resources and a questionnaire-guided interview. Non-parametric tests were used to evaluate the difference in the welfare scores between the production systems. The results indicated a discrepancy of animal welfare between the three farm types, with a marked separation of commercial farms from semi-commercial, and communal village farms in the least. The differences in these production systems was mainly driven by economic gains through access to better beef export market for commercial farms and semi-commercial villages, as well as by the differences in the available grazing land, facility designs/quality and traditional customs in the village systems. The results indicate an advantage of commercialisation over communalisation.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202008.0593.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Sociology Keywords: social work; families with children; child welfare services; social mobility
Online: 27 August 2020 (06:05:09 CEST)
Abstract The aim of our study is to analyse the perception of the families and concerned social workers. The research was conducted in an underprivileged and disadvantaged microregion in North Hungary. The main focus was the perception on the available health, educational, child welfare and social services and supports. The starting point was to enquire the target group’s knowledge of these services. The study examines the extent to which social work is able to provide support to disadvantaged, marginalized families with children, and the way how the dysfunctional operation of the system contributes to the perpetuation of the clients’ life conditions. Analysing the quality of these services and supports is crucial to understand the social mobility chance of the children living in this microregion. The results show that without capability and talent development for the children and given the lack of welfare services, the mobility chance and opportunities of these families are extremely low in Hungary.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints201912.0171.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Law Keywords: animal welfare legislation; animal cruelty; law enforcement; Australia; enforcement gap
Online: 12 December 2019 (10:07:56 CET)
Enforcement of animal welfare statutes are the primary protection given for the maintenance of animal welfare and prevention of cruelty. It is speculated that animal law enforcement in Australia has a number of weakness in the enforcement model. These weaknesses create a gap between the goals of animal law enforcement and the reality of the animal law justice system. This gap is defined as the ‘enforcement gap’. This paper identifies and investigates the causes of this gap. The hypothesized causes discussed are (1) the impact the public can have on reporting animal cruelty, (2) the reliance on charitable organizations as enforcement bodies, (3) the inconsistencies in animal welfare legislation, and (4) the role of the sentencing courts. Thus, the causes of the enforcement gap are multifactorial; derived from all stages of the enforcement process. Further research is needed to investigate the concepts raised in this paper. However, it is likely that a combination of structural change to enforcement agencies, legislative reform and public education is required to reduce the enforcement gap.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202310.1188.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Neuroscience And Neurology Keywords: invertebrate welfare; Octopus vulgaris; Anaesthetic protocol; Isoflurane; Magnesium chloride; stress reduction
Online: 19 October 2023 (03:28:44 CEST)
A wide variety of substances have been used to anaesthetise invertebrates, but many are not anaesthetics and merely incapacitate animals, rather than preventing pain. Much is now known about the mode of action of modern clinical and veterinary anaesthetics because of their use on human beings and other vertebrates. In essence, the role of an ideal general anaesthetic is to act as a muscle relaxant, an analgesic, an anaesthetic and an amnesic. To achieve all these properties with a single substance is difficult and various adjuvants usually need to be administered, resulting in a cocktail of drugs. In a clinical setting, the vast majority of patients are unaware of surgery being carried out and have no memory of it, so they can claim to have felt no pain, but this is much more difficult to demonstrate in invertebrates. Here we show that 1% MgCl2, a muscle relaxant, is a useful adjuvant for the clinical anaesthetic isoflurane on Octopus vulgaris when applied for 10 minutes before the clinical anaesthetic. After this, full anaesthesia can be achieved in 5 minutes using only 1% isoflurane and from which full recovery takes place rapidly in about 10 to 15 minutes. This reduces stress on the animal and minimises the quantity of anaesthetic used.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202306.0142.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Animal Science, Veterinary Science And Zoology Keywords: behaviour; captivity; hippocamelus bisulcus; huemul; animal-based measures; welfare assessment; deer
Online: 2 June 2023 (07:06:06 CEST)
Animal welfare assessment protocols are important for identifying welfare problems in conservation programs. This study aimed to develop a baseline welfare protocol for the assessment of welfare in huemul (Hippocamelus bisulcus) in conservation centers. This protocol is based on the Welfare Quality® (WQ) framework for cattle, considering the available literature on the behaviours, ecology, conservation plans, captive management of this species, and welfare assessment protocols for other ungulate species. As a result, the protocol was specifically developed for huemuls and included four principles, 12 criteria, and 23 animal- and resource-based indicators. The 12 criteria of the WQ protocol were reduced to nine, and three new criteria were added because they were both feasible and essential for welfare assessment in captive huemuls. This protocol is mainly intended to identify welfare problems in endangered species in the context of conservation centers (reproduction, rescue, rehabilitation, or treatment centers). Thus, aggregation of different measures to obtain a global score has not been proposed. However, a scoring system that assigns a value on a 0-2 scale (0= No welfare concern; 1= welfare concern; 2= urgent welfare concern) is proposed for each category. Although further research is still needed to fully validate the protocol, this is the first development of a completed protocol for huemul welfare assessment.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202304.0782.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Animal Science, Veterinary Science And Zoology Keywords: goat; dairy; milk production; fat; protein; lactose; ratio; lameness; welfare; income
Online: 23 April 2023 (07:25:55 CEST)
Lameness on dairy goat farms is a welfare concern and could negatively affect milk production. This study's objective was to evaluate the effects of clinical lameness on the daily milk production of dairy goats. Between July 2019 and June 2020, 11,847 test-day records were collected from 3,145 goats on three farms in New Zealand. Locomotion scoring of goats used a 5-point scoring system (0 to 4). The dataset was split into two groups by lactation type, where goats were classified as being in seasonal lactation (≤305 days in milk) or extended lactation (>305 days in milk). A linear mixed model was used to analyze datasets using milk characteristics as the dependent variables. Clinically lame goats (score 3 or 4) in seasonal and extended lactation produced 2.63% and 4.66% less milk than goats not lame, respectively. Severely lame goats (score 4) in seasonal and extended lactation produced 7.10% and 8.56% less milk than goats not lame, respectively. The estimated average daily milk income lost was between NZD 26 and 104 per goat. This study established the negative impact of lameness on milk production and annual income in dairy goats on three farms.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202207.0200.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Animal Science, Veterinary Science And Zoology Keywords: microRNAs; Precision livestock science; animal welfare; livestock health; biomarkers; biosensor; pandemics
Online: 13 July 2022 (13:12:32 CEST)
Early disease detection in livestock allows for target treatment decreasing antibiotics use and allow advancements in precision veterinary medicine. MicroRNA (miRNA) -driven signaling cascades play a crucial role in the context of farm animal disease diagnostics and prediction, and their proper understanding remains a challenge. In livestock farm animals, only a small number of miRNAs have been fully validated with respect to disease conditions and physiological or behavioral traits. Low abundance of miRNAs in blood and bodily fluids, along with a small number of nucleotides, makes detection and discrimination tedious and challenging task in. miRNAs usually are homologous, owing to which detection specificity becomes next to impossible when screening for multiple miRNAs in the same analyte sample. Hence, a concurrent, multiplexing, approach becomes crucial for the development of on-farm point-of-care based detection systems. Comprehensive screening methods demand broad dynamic range and enhanced specificity. For on-farm handheld platform development, the ability to screen for multiple varieties of miRNA is essential. In this review paper, I provide an overview of the recent developments of miRNA sensing and the current bottlenecks in the realization of the sensors for detecting miRNAS as target analyte for various livestock disease detection applications. Due to the nascent stages of this research, the possibilities of exploiting miRNAs as a biomarker opens up ways to move from reactive to predictive possibilities in diseases detection in the modern digital livestock farming.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202309.0214.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Animal Science, Veterinary Science And Zoology Keywords: Human-Centric AI in Livestock Farming; Sensor Technologies in Animal Welfare; Digital Livestock Farming; Objective Animal Welfare Indicators; AI-Driven Animal Health Monitoring; Farmer-Centric Technology Adoption
Online: 5 September 2023 (09:25:06 CEST)
In the wake of rapid advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) and sensor technologies, a new horizon of possibilities has emerged across diverse sectors. Livestock farming, a domain often sidelined in conventional AI discussions, stands at the cusp of this transformative wave. This paper delves into the profound potential of AI and sensor innovations in reshaping animal welfare in livestock farming, with a pronounced emphasis on a human-centric paradigm. Central to our discourse is the symbiotic interplay between cutting-edge technology and human expertise. While AI and sensor mechanisms offer real-time, comprehensive, and objective insights into animal welfare, it's the farmer's intrinsic knowledge of their livestock and environment that should steer these technological strides. We champion the notion of technology as an enhancer of farmers' innate capabilities, not a substitute. Our manuscript sheds light on: Objective Animal Welfare Indicators: An exhaustive exploration of health, behavioral, and physiological metrics, underscoring AI's prowess in delivering precise, timely, and objective evaluations. Farmer-Centric Approach: A focus on the pivotal role of farmers in the adept adoption and judicious utilization of AI and sensor technologies, coupled with discussions on crafting intuitive, pragmatic, and cost-effective solutions tailored to farmers' distinct needs. Ethical and Social Implications: A discerning scrutiny of the digital metamorphosis in farming, encompassing facets like animal privacy, data safeguarding, responsible AI deployment, and potential technological access disparities. Future Pathways: Advocacy for principled technology design, unambiguous responsible use guidelines, and fair technology access, all echoing the fundamental principles of human-centric computing and analytics. In essence, our paper furnishes pioneering insights at the crossroads of farming, animal welfare, technology, and ethics. It presents a rejuvenated perspective, bridging the chasm between technological advancements and their human beneficiaries, resonating seamlessly with the ethos of the Human-Centric Intelligent Systems journal. This comprehensive analysis thus marks a significant stride in the burgeoning domain of human-centric intelligent systems, especially within the digital livestock farming landscape, fostering a harmonious coexistence of technology, animals, and humans.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202309.1164.v1
Subject: Business, Economics And Management, Human Resources And Organizations Keywords: sustainable development; sustainable production; employee welfare; agricultural technical means of transport sector
Online: 18 September 2023 (11:16:19 CEST)
The main purpose of the work is to indicate the effects of the implementation of the concept of sustainable production from the perspective of the well-being of employees. The diagnosis was made among manufacturers operating in the sector of agricultural technical means of transport (production of parts and subassemblies). Achieving the main goal required the formulation and implementation of partial goals, which the authors included: (C1) analysis of the concept of sustainable production from the perspective of employees' well-being (theoretical plane); (C2) compiling a research model in the form of an evaluation sheet being the result of a literature query and an expert study (theoretical and design layer); attention was paid to the articulation of categories relevant to the content and scope of research; (C3) verification of the research model (indication of the effects of the implementation of the concept of sustainable production (the perspective of employee well-being) by the surveyed enterprises).
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202309.1066.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Animal Science, Veterinary Science And Zoology Keywords: dairy calves; animal welfare; cattle health; Romanian Black Spotted breed; farm health
Online: 15 September 2023 (10:52:51 CEST)
Dairy calves are susceptible to a great range of welfare and health issues up to the age of weaning. The aim of the current pilot study was to evaluate incidence of the main health disorders affecting dairy calves up to one year of age. The study was carried out at the Experimental Farm of the Research and Development Institute for Bovine Balotesti, Romania, were health data was collected for two consecutive years, between November 2017 and October 2019, from a number of 176 purebred Romanian Black and White calves. Diarrhea had the highest incidence in un-weaned calves (0-3months old), of 29.55±0.34%, significantly higher (p≤0.001) compared to 3-6 months (2.16±1.24) and 6-12 months age groups (5.88±2.17), respectively. Coccidiosis incidence was on average of 39.20±0.36% in un-weaned calves, 1.44±1.01% in the 3-6 months group and of 5.04±2.01% in the 6-12 months group, significantly higher (p≤0.001) in the 0-3 months age group, compared to older calves.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202307.1902.v1
Subject: Public Health And Healthcare, Health Policy And Services Keywords: Inequality of Health; Health Disparity; National Welfare; Panel Analysis; Fixed Effect Model
Online: 28 July 2023 (02:33:43 CEST)
This study analyzes the effect of economic growth and income distribution on health inequality using data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). A panel analysis was conducted by combining 21 years of data (from 2000 to 2020) from 38 OECD countries. Life expectancy and avoidable mortality were set as the dependent variables; gross domestic product and poverty gap were set as the independent variables; body mass index, consumption, smoking rate, healthcare personnel, number of beds in health service facilities, national medical expenses, and unemployment were set as control variables. First, economic growth and poverty gap significantly affect life expectancy and avoidable mortality. It has been confirmed that to resolve health inequality, growth during growth and distribution must be prioritized. Second, it has been confirmed that as the poverty gap increases, life expectancy increases and the avoidable mortality rate decreases. A mechanism different from the existence of a medical security system targeting the lowest class or an increase in the welfare of society worked. In conclusion, as a policy proposal to alleviate health inequality, this study suggests that policy intervention is necessary to block or alleviate the negative impact of income inequality in health care policies.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202209.0419.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Sociology Keywords: COVID-19; social determinants of health; older people vulnerability; health welfare regimes
Online: 27 September 2022 (10:16:38 CEST)
As of July 7, 2022, the total number of confirmed cases caused by COVID-19 has reached 544,324 million, and the total number of 6.333 million deaths (WHO). Older people were globally the most vulnerable during the pandemic. This paper examined the mortality and psychological crisis of older people during the pandemic in four cities, namely Wuhan, Milan, London, and Hong Kong. The selection of cities was based on different degrees of social connectedness of older people and chronologically to cover the whole period of the outbreak from January 2020 to August 2022. Older people in Milan and Wuhan tended to rely on the close family relationship during times of crisis. Meanwhile, older people in Hong Kong and London were more dependent on social services. Both quantitative and qualitative approaches were employed to analyze the situations of older people under different government responses and the strengths and weaknesses of respective healthcare systems. Government reports and official statistics were used to illustrate the seriousness of each city's COVID-19 outbreak while stories reported by the press, NGOs, and journal articles were used to reflect the reactions of the older people. Interactions of social culture, health care provisions, and government responses to the pandemic were discussed from the perspective of health welfare regimes. On one hand, results showed that governments have not learned from the experiences of other countries. On the other hand, older people have not successfully coped with the life-threatening stress by breaking institutional boundaries and redefining cultural norms.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202202.0074.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Behavior Sciences Keywords: animal emotions; animal welfare; sensors; animal-based measures; affective states; emotion modelling
Online: 4 February 2022 (12:20:22 CET)
Emotions or affective states recognition in farm animals is an underexplored research domain. Despite significant advances in the animal welfare research, the animal affective computing through the development and application of devices and platforms that can not only recognize but interpret and process the emotions, are in nascent stage. By capitalizing on the immense potential of biometric sensors, the artificial intelligence enabled big data methods substantially offers advancement of animal welfare standards and meet the urgent need of caretakers to respond effectively to maintain the wellbeing of their animals. Farm animals, numbering over 70 billion worldwide, are increasingly managed in large-scale, intensive farms. With both public awareness and scientific evidence growing that farm animals experience suffering, as well as affective states such as fear, frustration and distress, there is an urgent need to develop efficient and accurate methods for monitoring their welfare. At present, there are no scientifically validated ‘benchmarks’ for quantifying transient emotional (affective) states in farm animals, and no established measures of good welfare, only indicators of poor welfare, such as injury, pain and fear. Conventional approaches to monitoring livestock welfare are time consuming, interrupt farming processes and involve subjective judgments. Biometric sensors data enabled by Artificial Intelligence are an emerging smart solution to unobtrusively monitoring livestock, but their potential for quantifying affective states and groundbreaking solutions in their application are yet to be realized. This review provides innovative methods for collecting big data on farm animal emotions, which can be used to train artificial intelligence models to classify, quantify and predict affective states in individual pigs and cows. Extending this to the group level, social network analysis can be applied to model emotional dynamics and contagion among animals. Finally, ‘digital twins’ of animals capable of simulating and predicting their affective states and be-havior in real time are a near-term possibility.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201811.0589.v1
Subject: Engineering, Electrical And Electronic Engineering Keywords: Uniform Clearing Price Auction; Electricity Market; Bidding Strategies; Asymmetric Information; Social Welfare
Online: 26 November 2018 (11:36:40 CET)
The deepening of electricity reform results in increasingly frequent auctions and the surge of generators, it becomes difficult to analyze generators’ behaviors. Since it’s hard to find analytical market equilibriums, approximate equilibriums were obtained instead in previous studies by market simulations, which are strict to initial estimations and simulation results are chaotic in some cases. In this paper, a multi-unit power bidding model is proposed to reveal the bidding mechanism under clearing pricing rule by employing auction approach, for which initial estimations are non-essential. Normalized bidding price is introduced to construct generator's price-related bidding strategy. Nash equilibriums are derived depend on the marginal cost and the winning probability which are computed from bidding quantity, transmission cost and demand distribution. Furthermore, we propose a comparative analysis to explore the impact of uncertain elastic demand on the performance of the electricity market. The result indicates that, there exists market power among generators leading to social welfare decreases even under competitive conditions but elastic demand is an effective way to restrain generators’ market power. The feasibility of the models is verified by a case study. Our work provides decision support for generators and a direction for improving market efficiency.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202310.0447.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Life Sciences Keywords: echinoderms welfare; 5 R’s principle; respect; responsibility; Invertebrates; Responsible echinoderms use; Echinoderms sentience
Online: 8 October 2023 (11:48:51 CEST)
This paper explores the ethical considerations surrounding the research on echinoderms, a group of invertebrates that has recently garnered attention in the scientific community. We emphasize the importance of responsible animal handling and the need for an ethical framework that encompasses echinoderms. The 3R's principle, advocating for the replacement of conscious living vertebrates with non-sentient material in research, is discussed as a guiding tool in current animal research practices. As invertebrates are generally classified as non-sentient animals, the Replacement dimension tends to favor them as prevalent models in experimental research. While we currently lack the means to assess the mental states of invertebrates, there is undeniable evidence of social behavior in many species, suggesting that a lack of interactions with these organisms could potentially adversely affect their well-being. In the last few years, considerable progress has been made in developing an ethical framework that takes invertebrates into account, particularly cephalopods, crustaceans, and echinoderms. In this context, we discuss the development of a broader conceptual framework of 5R’s that includes Responsibility and Respect, which may guide practices ensuring welfare in echinoderms, even in the absence of any particular normative.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202308.1725.v1
Subject: Medicine And Pharmacology, Veterinary Medicine Keywords: equestrian sport; welfare; bit use; equine behavior; behavioral effects; horse satisfaction; horses; bits
Online: 24 August 2023 (07:59:33 CEST)
This study was conducted to investigate bit use in equestrian sports, focusing on welfare and performance as bit use has been subject of debate. The multi-faceted study combines a literature review, survey, and video analyses. Research on physiological and behavioral effects of bit use, discussing concerns and benefits, was evaluated. The survey involved 250 equestrians, gathering data on experiences, opinions, and practices regarding bit usage. Results demonstrate that different bits are used during competitions and that riders prioritize factors like horse satisfaction, consistent connection, and chewing behavior when riding at home, while show use focusses on factors like control. Video analyses showed high conformity between veterinary expert and show jumper, indicating reliability and validity. Pelham and loose ring bits were most used, while 3-ring and full cheek bits were associated with the most aversive movements, particularly opening of the mouth. Other defense movements included putting ears back, tail swishing, and head tilting. The study highlighted the need for understanding bit preferences in various settings and cautioned against generalizing bit usage based solely on show observations. It also emphasized the potential for developing new designs that prioritize horse comfort and responsiveness, to enhance communication and partnership between horses and riders.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202308.0698.v1
Subject: Business, Economics And Management, Economics Keywords: Health Shock, Credit, Rural Household Welfare, Sustainable Rural Devlopment, China Household Finance Survey
Online: 9 August 2023 (08:50:14 CEST)
Due to the incomplete of China's current social security system, health shocks are one of the main risks faced by rural families. Using data from the 2019 China Household Finance Survey, we examined the impact of borrowing on household welfare when rural households face health shocks. We found that household income and food expenditure both declined significantly when rural households faced health shocks; rural household borrowing was mainly used for the treatment of the diseases, and it had a crowding out effect on tourism and general health care expenditures, but not on education expenditures. We also found that the impact of borrowing on the western region was higher than that on the central and eastern regions from Looking at the impact of borrowing in different regions. Finally, we put forward some suggestions for promoting sustainable rural development from the perspective of medical security, such as accelerating the promotion of new rural medical insurance, helping rural low-income families improve health benefits, establishing diversified financing channels, improving rural financial platforms, and solving the financing difficulties of households to improve the ability of rural households to resist health shocks.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202107.0368.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Animal Science, Veterinary Science And Zoology Keywords: Precision Livestock Farming; Sensors; Animal Ethics; Animal Welfare; Society; Sustainability; Human-animal relationships
Online: 16 July 2021 (11:27:24 CEST)
The demand for animal products is expected to continue to rise, which requires the development of efficient livestock farming systems. Environmental, societal and economic concerns regarding this industry are however accumulating, addressing the large resource demand, pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions and health concerns that the livestock industry is responsible for. Precision livestock farming systems allow the continuous automatic monitoring of various physiological, behavioural and phenotypic parameters of animals in order to increase productivity and animal welfare while controlling and minimizing the environmental impact. There is a high potential for digital farming to be the solution for responsibly and ethically feeding the growing and urbanizing population. However, many problems and concerns are still present in this developing industry and remain relatively unaddressed, starting with the ethical aspects in regard to the animal, including its objectification, human-animal relationships and welfare and ending with the societal implications of this digitalization. Concrete frameworks, inter-disciplinary studies and global legislation need to be put in place in order to ensure the safety and protection of the animals, farmer and society. Here, implications of digital farming for the animals, farmers, society and the planet are critically reviewed with the future outlook of digital farms.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202101.0201.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Urban Studies And Planning Keywords: Public Housing; Housing Affordability; Global Cities; Subsidized Ownership; Demand-Side Policies; Social-Welfare
Online: 11 January 2021 (14:35:49 CET)
Affordable Housing, the basic human necessity has now become a critical problem in global cities with direct impacts on people's well-being. While a well-functioning housing market may augment the economic efficiency and productivity of a city, it may trigger housing affordability issues leading crucial economic and political crises side by side if not handled properly. In global cities e.g. Singapore and Hong Kong where affordable housing for all has become one of the greatest concerns of the Government, this issue can be tackled capably by the provision of public housing. In Singapore, nearly 90% of the total population lives in public housing including public rental and subsidized ownership, whereas the figure tally only about 45% in Hong Kong. Hence this study is an effort to scrutinizing the key drivers of success in affordable public housing through following a qualitative case study based research methodological approach to present successful experience and insight from different socio-economic and geo-political context. As a major intervention, this research has clinched that, housing affordability should be backed up by demand-side policies aiming to help occupants and proprietors to grow financial capacity e.g. subsidized rental and subsidized ownership can be an integral part of the public housing system to improve housing affordability.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202211.0280.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Behavior Sciences Keywords: animal welfare; animal training; applied animal behavior; behavior analysis; behavioral engineering; environmental enrichment; zoos
Online: 15 November 2022 (07:20:08 CET)
The field of applied behavior analysis has been directly involved in both research and applications of behavioral principles to improve the lives of captive zoo animals. Thirty years ago, Forthman and Ogden (1992) wrote one of the first papers documenting some of these efforts. Since that time, considerable work has been done using behavioral principles and procedures to guide zoo welfare efforts. The current paper re-examines and updates Forthman and Ogden’s original points, with attention to the five categories they detailed: (1) promotion of species-typical behavior, (2) reintroduction and repatriation of endangered species, (3) animal handling, (4) pest control, and (5) animal performances. In addition, we outline three current and future directions for behavior analytic endeavors: (i) experimental analyses of behavior and the zoo, (ii) applied behavior analysis and the zoo, and (iii) within-subject methodology and the zoo. The goal is to provide a framework that can guide future behavioral research in zoos, as well as create applications based on these empirical evaluations.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202110.0319.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Animal Science, Veterinary Science And Zoology Keywords: YOLOv4; Faster RCNN; Deep-SORT; pig posture detection; object tracking; greenhouse gas; animal welfare
Online: 21 October 2021 (23:06:30 CEST)
Pig behavior is an integral part of health and welfare management, as pigs usually reflect their inner emotions through behavior change. The livestock environment plays a key role in pigs' health and wellbeing. A poor farm environment increases the toxic GHGs, which might deteriorate pigs' health and welfare. In this study a computer-vision-based automatic monitoring and tracking model was proposed to detect short-term pigs' physical activities in a compromised environment. The ventilators of the livestock barn were closed for an hour, three times in a day (07:00-08:00, 13:00-14:00, and 20:00-21:00) to create a compromised environment, which increases the GHGs level significantly. The corresponding pig activities were observed before, during, and after an hour of the treatment. Two widely used object detection models (YOLOv4 and Fast-er R-CNN) were trained and compared their performances in terms of pig localization and posture detection. The YOLOv4, which outperformed the Faster R-CNN model, coupled with a Deep-SORT tracking algorithm to detect and track the pig activities. The results showed that the pigs became more inactive with the increase in GHG concentration, reducing their standing and walking activities. Moreover, the pigs also shortened their sternal-lying posture increasing the lateral lying posture duration at higher GHG concentration. The high detection accuracy (mAP: 98.67%) and tracking accuracy (MOTA: 93.86% and MOTP: 82.41%) signify the models’ efficacy in monitoring and tracking pigs' physical activities non-invasively.
Subject: Business, Economics And Management, Accounting And Taxation Keywords: Economic welfare; Energy; Exhaustible resource; General equilibrium model; Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF); Natural Gas
Online: 19 November 2020 (11:05:00 CET)
In this paper we develop a “general equilibrium” (GE) model for the allocation of exhaustible natural resources to examine the impact of different extraction scenarios on intergenerational economic welfare. We apply a stylized GE model to Israel's natural gas (NG) market to evaluate economic indicators resulting from NG-extraction scenarios: a baseline scenario based on current policy in the NG sector, a conservative scenario based on a lower extraction rate, and an intensive scenario based on faster extraction. We also examine the impact of various resource income-allocation strategies on intergenerational economic welfare through the mechanism of a “sovereign wealth fund” (SWF). The results indicate that a higher NG-extraction rate combined with an appropriate investment strategy for NG profits is preferable from an economic perspective to a conservative rate. Investment of the government take from the NG market in research and development (R&D) of renewable electricity productivity can sustainably increase economic welfare.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201805.0037.v1
Subject: Environmental And Earth Sciences, Environmental Science Keywords: decision dilemma; intergenerational welfare; time horizon; risk attitude; inequality aversion; fairness; responsibility; sustainability paradigms
Online: 2 May 2018 (12:41:08 CEST)
We introduce and analyse a simple formal thought experiment designed to reflect a qualitative decision dilemma humanity might currently face in view of climate change. In it, each generation can choose between just two options, either setting humanity on a pathway to certain high wellbeing after one generation of suffering, or leaving the next generation in the same state as this one with the same options, but facing a continuous risk of permanent collapse. We analyse this abstract setup regarding the question of what the right choice would be both in a rationality-based framework including optimal control, welfare economics and game theory, and by means of other approaches based on the notions of responsibility, safe operating spaces, and sustainability paradigms. Despite the simplicity of the setup, we find a large diversity and disagreement of assessments both between and within these different approaches.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202305.2250.v1
Subject: Medicine And Pharmacology, Veterinary Medicine Keywords: respiration; automatic monitoring; rodent; rat; animal welfare; refinement; 3R; laboratory animals; camera-based monitoring; breathing
Online: 31 May 2023 (12:56:46 CEST)
Animal research has always been crucial for various medical and scientific breakthroughs, providing information on disease mechanisms, genetic predisposition to diseases, and pharmacological treatment. However, the use of animals in medical research is a source of great controversy and ongoing debate in modern science. To ensure a high level of bioethics, new guidelines have been adopted to replace animal testing wherever possible, reduce the number of animals per experiment, and refine procedures to minimize stress and pain. Supporting these guidelines, this article proposes a novel approach for unobtrusive, continuous, and automated monitoring of the respiratory rate of laboratory rats. It uses the cyclical expansion and contraction of the rats’ thorax/abdominal region to determine this physiological parameter. In contrast to previous work, the focus is on unconstrained animals, which requires the algorithms to be especially robust to motion artifacts. To test the feasibility of the proposed approach, video material of multiple rats was recorded and evaluated. High agreement was obtained between RGB-imaging and the reference method (respiratory rate derived from electrocardiography), which was reflected in a relative error of 5.46%. The current work shows that camera-based technologies are promising and relevant alternatives for monitoring the respiratory rate of unconstrained rats, contributing to the development of new alternatives for continuous and objective assessment of animal welfare and hereby guiding the way to modern and bioethical research.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202305.2130.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Other Keywords: Companion animal; dog; cat; human-animal bond; Social Return on Investment; animal shelter; animal welfare
Online: 30 May 2023 (11:34:44 CEST)
Companion animals play a central role in many families and are especially valued by those who are socially isolated. Crisis situations such as acute hospitalizations, homelessness and natural disasters can make it difficult to preserve the human-animal bond and can result in animals being surrendered or euthanized. Social support programs like the RSPCA NSW Emergency Boarding and Homelessness program support people experiencing crisis situations with emergency pet boarding, access veterinary treatment and individualized case management. This study aimed to estimate the social return on investment (SROI) for this program using standard SROI methodology. In-depth interviews were conducted with 13 program stakeholders and questionnaire responses were received from 29 program clients. Outcomes were quantified for four stakeholder groups: program clients, client’s animals, RSPCA Inspectors, animal pounds and shelters. Clients and their animals experienced the bulk of the benefit from the program, estimated to have a combined value of over $5 million AUD for the 2020-21 financial year. The estimated social return on investment was $8.21 for each $1 invested. The study demonstrates that keeping people together with their companion animals, or ensuring they are reunited as soon as possible, can reduce stressors, and improve outcomes for people and animals.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202312.0216.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Animal Science, Veterinary Science And Zoology Keywords: Climate Change; Dairy Farming; Methane Emissions; Sustainable Practices; Animal Welfare; Environmental Legislation; Economic Feasibility; Technological Advancements
Online: 5 December 2023 (04:38:31 CET)
In recent years, the Canadian dairy sector has faced escalating challenges due to its significant contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, particularly methane. This paper critically examines a spectrum of innovative techniques aimed at mitigating methane emissions within this sector, scrutinizing their cost-effectiveness, efficiency, compatibility with animal welfare standards, and adherence to both existing and prospective Canadian environmental legislations. The discourse commences with an exhaustive overview of contemporary methane reduction methodologies pertinent to dairy farming, followed by a rigorous analysis of their economic feasibility. This includes a detailed cost-benefit analysis, juxtaposed with the efficiency and technological advancements these techniques embody. A pivotal aspect of this examination is the alignment of animal welfare with emission reduction objectives, ensuring that strategies employed do not compromise the health and well-being of dairy cattle. Furthermore, the paper delves into the legislative landscape of Canada, evaluating the congruence of these techniques with current environmental laws and anticipating future regulatory shifts. Performance indicators for emission reduction are critically assessed, establishing benchmarks tailored to the Canadian context. This is complemented by an exploration of the market potential of these innovations, including factors influencing their adoption and scalability in the market. The analysis culminates with a synthesis of case studies and best practices within Canada, offering insights into successful implementations and drawing lessons for future endeavors. This comprehensive approach serves not only to address the immediate environmental and health impacts associated with dairy farming emissions but also contributes significantly to the overarching goal of sustainable development in the agricultural sector.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202309.0232.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Animal Science, Veterinary Science And Zoology Keywords: Olea europaea L. polyphenols; animal welfare; milk quality; milk fatty acids; antioxidant; functional feed; dairy cows
Online: 6 September 2023 (15:04:58 CEST)
The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of dietary supplementation with Olea europaea L. extract on the animal welfare and milk quality of lactating Italian Holstein-Friesian dairy cows at different calving orders. Cows in mid lactation phase received, for 60 days, the natural olive extract Phenofeed Dry® (500 mg/cow/day) with high antioxidant power. Hormonal and metabolic parameters were determined through ELISA assays, the milk fatty acid profile through gas chromatography, chemical-nutritional and hygienic-sanitary parameters through ultrasonic analyses. The milk lysozyme content was measured through a specific ELISA assay. The administration of the enriched feed did not alter the hormonal balance. Primiparous cows were more sensitive to the treatment and showed a better general health status compared to other calving orders. The enriched feed resulted in a reduction of saturated fatty acids (SFAs) and an increase of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), ensuring an adequate nutritional content and, above all, a significantly higher content of the antibacterial protein, lysozyme. Overall, our study demonstrate that the inclusion of natural bioactive molecules such as Olea europaea L. polyphenols contributes to improving the welfare status of dairy cows and ensuring high nutritional and functional quality of animal productions.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202107.0326.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Biochemistry And Molecular Biology Keywords: Deepfake; Animal Welfare; Animal Emotions; Artificial Intelligence; Digital Farming; Animal Based Measures; Emotion Modeling; Livestock Health
Online: 14 July 2021 (11:49:38 CEST)
Deepfake technologies are known for the creation of forged celebrity pornography, face and voice swaps, and other fake media content. Despite the negative connotations the technology bears, the underlying machine learning algorithms have a huge potential that could be applied to not just digital media, but also to medicine, biology, affective science, and agriculture, just to name a few. Due to the ability to generate big datasets based on real data distributions, deepfake could also be used to positively impact non-human animals such as livestock. Generated data using Generative Adversarial Networks, one of the algorithms that deepfake is based on, could be used to train models to accurately identify and monitor animal health and emotions. Through data augmentation, using digital twins, and maybe even displaying digital conspecifics where social interactions are enhanced, deepfake technologies have the potential to increase animal health, emotionality, sociality, animal-human and animal-computer interactions and thereby animal welfare, productivity, and sustainability of the farming industry.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201912.0239.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Immunology And Microbiology Keywords: OptiCell; microbial diversity; gut microbiota; gut health; free-range chickens; caged chickens; SCFA; mucus layer; welfare
Online: 18 December 2019 (05:25:45 CET)
It is of merit to study the appropriate amount of fiber to add to free-range chickens feed to improve the microbial diversity and gut health in times of plant fiber deprivation. OptiCell is a useful source of fiber as a type of eubiotic lignocellulose, and its positive effects on the growth performance and laying performance of chickens has already been proven. However, few researchers have researched the effects of adding OptiCell on the gut microbiota of chickens. In this research we added three different levels of OptiCell (0%, 2% and 4%) to the feed of caged and free-range Bian chickens from September to November, aiming to observe the effects of adding OptiCell and different feeding modes on the gut microbial diversity and gut health of chickens, and aiming to determine an appropriate amount of OptiCell. The results showed that adding OptiCell could increase the thickness of the cecum mucus layer and the abundance of Akkermansia and Faecalibacterium in caged chickens, and 4% OptiCell was optimum. In addition, adding OptiCell increased the microbial diversity and the abundance of the butyrate-producing bacteria Faecalibacterium and Roseburia of fee-range chickens. The α-diversity and the length of the small intestine with 2% OptiCell in free-range chickens were better than with 2% OptiCell in caged chickens. In addition, compared with caged chickens, the free-range chickens had longer small intestine and lower GLP-1. Taken together, an appropriate amount of OptiCell benefitted the microbial diversity and health of chickens; it was necessary to add dietary fiber to the feed of free-range chickens when plant fibers was lacking, and 2% OptiCell was found to be optimum.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202308.0360.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; coronavirus; pets; companion animals; reverse zoonosis; veterinary; animal welfare; feline; One Health
Online: 4 August 2023 (14:48:06 CEST)
Although domestic cats are susceptible to infection with SARS-CoV-2, the role of the virus in causing feline disease is less well defined. We conducted a large-scale study to identify SARS-CoV-2 infections in UK pet cats, using active and passive surveillance. Remnant feline respiratory swab samples, submitted for other pathogen testing between May 2021 and February 2023, were screened using RT-qPCR. In addition, we appealed to veterinarians for swab samples from cats suspected of having clinical SARS-CoV-2 infections. Bespoke testing for SARS-CoV-2 neutralising antibodies was also performed, on request, in suspected cases. One RT-qPCR-positive cat was identified from the active surveillance (1/549, 0.18 %), during the Delta wave (1/175, 0.57 %). Passive surveillance detected one cat infected with the Alpha variant, and two of ten cats tested RT-qPCR-positive during the Delta wave. No cats tested RT-qPCR-positive after the emergence of Omicron BA.1 and its descendants although 374 were tested by active and eleven by passive surveillance. We describe four cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection in pet cats, identified by RT-qPCR and/or serology, that presented with a range of clinical signs, as well as their SARS-CoV-2 genome sequences. Our results demonstrate that, although uncommon, clinical infections in cats can and do occur.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202210.0052.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Animal Science, Veterinary Science And Zoology Keywords: animal-assisted interventions; child development; dog bites; dog-borne zoonoses; dog ownership; dog welfare; human-animal interactions
Online: 6 October 2022 (08:13:49 CEST)
Our wellbeing is greatly influenced by our childhood and adolescence, and the relationships that we form during those phases of our development. The human-dog bond started thousands of years ago. The higher prevalence of dog ownership around the world, especially in households including children along with the growing number of people studying dogs most likely explain the growing literature focusing on child-dog interactions. We review the potential effects of child-dog interactions on the physical, mental, and social wellbeing of both species. A scoping search of the SCOPUS database found several hundred documents meeting selection criteria. It allowed us to define the numerous ways in which children and dogs can interact, be it neutral (e.g., sharing a common area), positive (e.g., petting), or negative (e.g., biting). Then, we found evidence for an association between interacting with dogs during childhood and an array of health and mental benefits like stress relief and the development of empathy. Walking a dog and playing with one are perfect physical activity opportunities. Additionally, interacting with a dog can help lower stress and may have a role in the development of empathy. Nonetheless, a number of detrimental outcomes have also been identified in both humans and dogs. Children are the most at-risk population regarding dog bites and dog-borne zoonoses, which may lead to a subsequent fear of dogs or even death. Moreover, pet bereavement is generally inevitable when living with a canine companion and should not be trivialized. In terms of dogs, children sometimes take part in caretaking behaviors toward them which include going on walks. They are opportunities for dogs to relieve themselves outside, but also to exercise and socialize. In contrast, a lack of physical activity can lead to the onset of obesity. Dogs may present greater levels of stress when in the presence of children. Finally, the welfare of assistance, therapy, and free-roaming dogs remains underexplored. Overall, the study of the effects, positive as well as negative, on both species still requires further development. We call for more longitudinal studies and hope for cross-cultural research in the future in order to better understand the impact child-dog interactions might have.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202304.0409.v2
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Animal Science, Veterinary Science And Zoology Keywords: Animal welfare; Virtual environments; Metaverse; Augmented reality; Precision Livestock Farming; Ethical farming; Sustainability; Livestock; Environmental impact; Digital agriculture
Online: 26 May 2023 (08:22:52 CEST)
The metaverse, a virtual world comprising a collective virtual shared space where users interact with one another through avatars and computer-generated objects, aims to closely mimic our real world by integrating elements of Artificial Intelligence (AI), immersive reality, advanced connectivity, and Web3. As metaverse technologies gain momentum across multiple sectors, including animal farming, their potential for addressing complex challenges such as climate change and sustainability in precision food production systems becomes increasingly apparent. However, it is crucial to consider the ethical implications and the role of sensor data and livestock behavior analysis in developing metaverse technologies for modern animal farming, given the sensitive and controversial nature of animal welfare. Failure to address these ethical considerations and harness the power of sensor data and behavior analysis could lead to a lack of credibility and insensitivity towards adopting metaverse technologies in the animal farming sector. It is essential to ensure that the development of metaverse technologies does not prioritize technology over animal welfare, ethics, socio-economic implications, and the potential for data-driven insights. Addressing diversity and equity in the context of animal farming and the metaverse is crucial to avoid perpetuating existing inequalities during the implementation of metaverse technologies. This groundbreaking paper ventures into unexplored territory, shedding light on the untapped potential of the metaverse for modern animal farming. While research on this topic is still in its infancy, we embark on a journey of visionary speculation, presenting a compelling technology forecast that envisions the extraordinary possibilities awaiting us in the future. By delving into the metaverse's transformative capabilities, we provide a glimpse into a world where animal farming transcends its traditional limitations and embraces a new era of efficiency, sustainability, and ethical practices.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202303.0288.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Biology And Biotechnology Keywords: In ovo sexing; male day-old chick culling; animal welfare; optical and non-optical techniques; patents and papers
Online: 15 March 2023 (14:29:43 CET)
Numerous researchers and institutions have been developing in ovo sexing technologies to improve animal welfare by identifying male embryos in an early embryonic stage and disposing of them before pain perception. This review gives a complete overview of the technological approaches reported in papers and patents by performing a thorough search using Web of Science and Patstat databases for papers and patents, respectively. Based on a total of 45 papers and 100 patent families up until 2021 reported worldwide, 11 technology categories were defined: six non-optical and five optical techniques. Every category was described for its characteristics while assessing its potential for application. Next, the dynamics of the publications of in ovo sexing techniques in both paper and patent fields were described through growth curves, and the interest or actual status was visualized using the number of paper citations and the actual legal status of the patents. When comparing the reported technologies in papers to those in patents, scientific gaps were observed, as some of the patented technologies were not reported in the scientific literature, e.g., ion mobility and mass spectrometry approaches. Generally, more diverse approaches in all categories were found in patents, although they do require more scientific evidence through papers or industrial adoption to prove their robustness. Moreover, although there is a recent trend for non-invasive techniques, invasive methods like analyzing DNA through PCR or hormones through immunosensing are still being reported (and might continue to be) in papers and patents. It was also observed that none of the technologies complies with all the industry requirements. Thus, more research and harmony between consumers, industry, and governments is necessary.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202106.0659.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Anatomy And Physiology Keywords: Neonatal mortality; husbandry practices; cage inspection; pup counting method; social environment; cannibalistic behaviour; asynchrony breeding; mouse welfare, 3Rs principle.
Online: 28 June 2021 (14:02:37 CEST)
Perinatal mortality is a major issue in laboratory mouse breeding. We compared a counting method using daily checks (DAILY_CHECK) with a method combining daily checks with detailed video analyses to detect cannibalisms (VIDEO_TRACK) for estimating the number of C57BL/6 pups born, died and weaned in 193 litters from trios with (TRIO-OVERLAP) or without (TRIO-NO_OVERLAP) the presence of another litter. Linear mixed models were used at litter level. To understand if cannibalism was associated with active killing (infanticide), we analysed VIDEO_TRACK recordings of 109 litters from TRIO-OVERLAP, TRIO-NO_OVERLAP or SOLO (single dams). We used Kaplan-Meier method and logistic regression at pup level. For DAILY_CHECK, the mean litter size was 35% smaller than for VIDEO_TRACK (P<0.0001) and the number of dead pups was twice lower (P<0.0001). The risk of pup loss was higher for TRIO-OVERLAP than TRIO-NO_OVERLAP (P<0.0001). A high number of pup losses occurred between birth and the first cage checking. Analyses of VIDEO_TRACK data indicated that pups were clearly dead at the start of most of the cannibalism events and infanticide was rare. As most pups die and disappear before the first cage check, many breeding facilities are likely to be unaware of their real rates of mouse pup mortality.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202309.1714.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Animal Science, Veterinary Science And Zoology Keywords: Cognitive Computing; Digital Imaging; Sound Vocalization Analysis; Animal Self-awareness; Behavioral Predictions; Micro-expressions; Animal Welfare Enhancement; Human-Animal-Computer Interactions
Online: 26 September 2023 (13:43:02 CEST)
In this paper, we critically examine the burgeoning role of advanced computational methodologies in deciphering the complex tapestry of farm animal behaviors and emotions. Leveraging digital imaging and artificial intelligence, we unearth nuanced behavioral patterns and micro-expressions, offering predictive insights into animal emotional states. Sound vocalization analysis, often overlooked, emerges as a pivotal tool, decoding intricate communicative nuances and emotional undertones. Cognitive tests, including mirror and bias assessments, challenge long-standing perceptions, revealing surprising depths of animal self-awareness and cognitive sophistication. However, the paper also underscores the imperative of integrating these tools with a profound understanding of animal psyche, ensuring technology serves as an enhancer, not a replacement, of traditional observational methods. This research not only highlights the transformative potential of cognitive computing in animal welfare but also calls for a judicious application, ensuring technology augments, not undermines, the intrinsic value of human-animal interactions and understanding.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202307.0473.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Animal Science, Veterinary Science And Zoology Keywords: precision livestock farming; smart agriculture; digital livestock management; animal welfare technology; sustainable livestock production; dairy cow monitoring; IoT in agriculture; agricultural big data
Online: 7 July 2023 (10:17:00 CEST)
This critical review illuminates the transformative potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and sensor technologies in the dairy livestock export industry, an area facing mounting pressure for heightened efficiency and sustainability. We rigorously scrutinize the uptake of these novel technologies in identifying 'shy feeders,' automating weight monitoring of individual livestock, and refining cattle enumeration procedures. The investigation unravels their capacity to bolster animal welfare standards, minimize supply chain discrepancies, and amplify operational productivity. Moreover, the research delves into how these innovations may enhance market access and competitiveness in a swiftly shifting global dairy landscape. We further highlight the challenges encountered and future trajectories, providing a strategic framework for technology integration within the livestock export sector. Ultimately, this review underlines the importance of adopting AI and sensor technologies, indicating a shift towards precision digital livestock farming that amalgamates efficiency, animal welfare, and profitability.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202103.0548.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Psychology Keywords: nest-building; social behavior; behavioral monitoring, animal welfare, 3xTg-AD mice; Alzheimer's disease; gender medicine; early-life events; early-life interventions; long-term effects
Online: 22 March 2021 (15:46:24 CET)
The assessment of welfare and disease progression in animal models is critical. Most tools rely on evaluating individual subjects, whereas social behaviors, also sensitive to acute illness, chronic diseases, or mental health, are scarcely monitored because of their complexity, are invasive, and time-consuming. We propose the evaluation of social nesting, a species-typical behavior naturally occurring in standard housing conditions, for such behavioral monitoring. We provide an example of its use to evaluate social deficits and the long-term effects of neonatal sensorial stimulation in male and female adult 3xTg-AD mice for Alzheimer's disease compared to sex- and age-matched NTg counterparts with normal aging. Social nesting was sensitive to genotype (worse in 3xTg-AD mice), sex (worse in males), profile, and treatment (distinct temporal patterns, time to observe the maximum score and incidence of the perfect nest). Since social nesting can be easily included in housing routines, this neuroethological approach can be useful for animal's welfare, monitoring the disease's progress, and evaluating potential risk factors and effects of preventive/therapeutical strategies. Finally, the non-invasive, painless, simple, short time and low-cost features of this home-cage monitoring are advantages that make social nesting feasible to be successfully implemented in most animal department settings.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202307.1059.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Animal Science, Veterinary Science And Zoology Keywords: Internet of Things (IoT); Precision Livestock Farming (PLF); Animal welfare; Pig behavior; Mul-timodal data; Accelerometer sensors; Stress analysis; Gait analysis; Physiological monitoring; Sustainable farming practices
Online: 17 July 2023 (07:27:18 CEST)
This paper pioneers a novel exploration of environmental impacts in livestock farming, with a focus on pig farming's intersection with climate change and sustainability. It emphasizes the transformative potential of data-driven Artificial Intelligence (AI) methodologies, specifically the Internet of Things (IoT) and multimodal data analysis, in promoting equitable and sustainable food systems. The study observes five pigs, aged 86 to 108 days, using a tripartite sensor that records heart rate, respiration rate, and accelerometer data. The unique experimental design alternates between periods of isolation during feeding and subsequent pairing, enabling the investigation of stress-induced changes. Key inquiries include discerning patterns in heart rate data during isolation versus paired settings, fluctuations in respiration rates, and behavioral shifts induced by isolation or pairing. The study also explores potential detection of gait abnormalities, correlations between pigs' age and their gait or activity patterns, and the evolution of pigs' walking abilities with age. The paper scrutinizes accelerometer data to detect activity changes when pigs are paired, potentially indicating increased stress or aggression. It also examines the adaptation of pigs to alternating isolation and pairing over time, and how their heart rate, respiration rate, and activity data reflect this process. The study considers other significant variables, such as time of day and isolation duration, affecting the pigs' physiological parameters. Sensor data is further utilized to identify behavioral patterns during periods of feeding, isolation, or pairing. In conclusion, this study harnesses IoT and multimodal data analysis in a groundbreaking approach to pig welfare research. It underscores the compelling potential of technology to inform about overall pig welfare, particularly stress levels and gait quality, and the power of data-driven insights in fostering equitable, healthy, and environmentally conscious livestock production systems.