ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202111.0196.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Other 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/preprints202210.0012.v1
Subject: Biology, Animal Sciences & 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: Social Sciences, 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.
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: Mathematics & Computer Science, Algebra & 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/preprints201907.0065.v1
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/preprints202009.0722.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Accounting 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 & 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/preprints202208.0247.v1
Subject: Biology, Animal Sciences & 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.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202101.0072.v1
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: Social Sciences, Accounting 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 & Pharmacology, Allergology 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, Animal Sciences & 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, Animal Sciences & 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/preprints202210.0444.v1
Subject: Biology, Animal Sciences & 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, Other 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, Animal Sciences & 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.
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: Social Sciences, 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/preprints202202.0097.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Endocrinology & Metabolomics 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: Life Sciences, Biochemistry 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.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202207.0200.v1
Subject: Biology, Animal Sciences & 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/preprints202112.0027.v2
Subject: Biology, Animal Sciences & 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/preprints202012.0109.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Other 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/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: Behavioral Sciences, Behavioral Neuroscience 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/preprints202108.0405.v1
Subject: Biology, Anatomy & Morphology 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/preprints201811.0589.v1
Subject: Engineering, Electrical & 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/preprints202107.0368.v1
Subject: 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: 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: Behavioral Sciences, Other 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: Life Sciences, Other 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: Social Sciences, Accounting 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: Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences 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.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202107.0326.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Biochemistry 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: 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.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202210.0052.v1
Subject: Biology, Animal Sciences & 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.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202106.0659.v1
Subject: Biology, Anatomy & Morphology 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.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202103.0548.v1
Subject: Behavioral Sciences, Applied 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.