The effect of body weight on some welfare indicators in feedlot cattle in a hot environment

Heat stress has important effects on the welfare of livestock. The effects of heat stress in cattle include changes in biological functions and behaviors. The aim of this study from the Department of Animal Science, Uludag University, Bursa, Turkey, was to investigate the behavioral differences between light and heavy feedlot cattle reared in a hot . . . → Read More: The effect of body weight on some welfare indicators in feedlot cattle in a hot environment

Considering the exposure of cruelty

The exposure on Four Corners of the treatment of Australian cattle exported to Indonesia had a number of interesting features. For one thing, few people would have seen so graphically such relentless and extreme animal cruelty.

As everyone now knows, cattle in the abattoirs variously suffered eye gouging, repeated throat slashing, goading, dragging, thrashing, and so on. Viewers could be in little doubt that those inflicting the violence saw no moral limit, or virtually no limit, to what may be done to these animals.

Many people, perhaps for the first time, were deeply disturbed and even haunted by the way animals were treated. Some may long remember certain images, such as the sight of a steer visibly trembling in fear as it watched other animals suffer the treatment it was itself moments away from experiencing.

Politicians and members of the public and cattle industry labelled the treatment “disgusting”. More than usual for a news story about animals, there was much public and media discussion, and significant political action, such as the rapidly organised campaign by GetUp.

The event also led to unusual alliances, between some farmers, meatworkers, and animal groups, and between the welfare-orientated RSPCA and the rights-orientated Animals Australia which obtained the footage.

The evidence raises general questions about our moral responsibility for animals sent to any country, not just Indonesia, which may have lower standards of care. It also invites us to reflect on the tensions between economics, culture and religion, and the treatment of animals. Continue reading Considering the exposure of cruelty

Atypical scrapie/Nor98 in a sheep from New Zealand

In a consignment of sheep brains from NZ, to be used in Europe as negative control material in scrapie rapid screening test evaluations, brain samples from 1 sheep (no. 1512) gave the following initially confusing results in various screening tests: the brainstem repeatedly produced negative results in 2 very similar screening kits (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay [ELISA]-1, ELISA-2), . . . → Read More: Atypical scrapie/Nor98 in a sheep from New Zealand

Survey among Belgian pig producers about the introduction of group housing systems for gestating sows

There is a global move from individual to group housing of gestating sows. In the EU, individual gestating stalls will be banned by 2013. Just like in other industrialised regions, these stalls have been the standard housing system for intensively kept sows from the 1960s onward in the Flemish region of Belgium. As the socio-economic consequences . . . → Read More: Survey among Belgian pig producers about the introduction of group housing systems for gestating sows