A Framework to Assess the Impact of New Animal Management Technologies on Welfare: A Case Study of Virtual Fencing

To be ethically acceptable, new husbandry technologies and livestock management systems must maintain or improve animal welfare. To achieve this goal, the design and implementation of new technologies need to harness and complement the learning abilities of animals. Here, from literature on the cognitive activation theory of stress (CATS) we develop a framework to assess […]

Farm Animal Cognition—Linking Behavior, Welfare and Ethics

Farm animal welfare is a major concern for society and food production. To more accurately evaluate animal farming in general and to avoid exposing farm animals to poor welfare situations, it is necessary to understand not only their behavioural but also their cognitive needs and capacities. Thus, general knowledge of how farm animals perceive and […]

Grouping and social preferences in calves, heifers and cows

In order to improve animal welfare, a growing number of calves, heifers and dairy cows are reared in loose housing systems. However, (re)grouping unfamiliar animals may result in aggressive interactions and distress, especially for low ranked animals. Grouping of unfamiliar animals is found to increase aggression, social stress, locomotion behaviour and to have negative effects […]

Function of Tongue-Playing of Cattle in Association With Other Behavioral and Physiological Characteristics

To study the function of tongue-playing of cattle, this study observed 71 Japanese Black x Holstein steers after feeding in 2 repetitive experiments. The number of steers who performed tongue-playing did not differ among the 3 levels of environmentally enriched pens. Most (90.6%) performances of tongue-playing terminated within 20 min. Frequency of tongue-playing positively correlated […]

Effect of environmental enrichment by providing trees as rubbing objects in grassland: Grazing cattle need tree-grooming

We examined the role of trees as grooming objects in grazing pasture and investigated their necessity. Four grazing Japanese Black cows were used. Experimental pastures with restricted (RST) and released (RLS) grooming with trees were established. Examination was carried out for 24 h in each RST and RLS. The respective frequencies and duration of self-grooming, […]

The effects of land transport on animal welfare

Animal welfare during and as a result of transport can be assessed by using a range of behavioural, physiological, pathological and carcass-quality indicators that are described in this paper. Measures of the extent of any disease, injury or mortality resulting from, or exacerbated by, transport are important because health is an important part of welfare. […]

Eye white may indicate emotional state on a frustration-contentedness axis in dairy cows

Research on welfare indicators has focused primarily on indicators of poor welfare, but there is also a need for indicators that can cover the range from good to poor welfare. The aim of this experiment was to compare behaviour elements in dairy cows shown in response to a frustrating situation as well as elements shown […]

Slaughter Plants: Behavior and Welfare Assessment

The numerical scoring system provides a simple-to-use tool for inspectors, veterinarians, and managers to use for assessing animal welfare in slaughter plants. There is a need to do further research to relate animal behaviors that are easily observed in the slaughter plant to both physiological and brain function measures.

Vocal behaviour in cattle: the animal’s commentary on its biological processes and welfare

The vocalizations of cattle provide conspecifics with meaningful information about the caller. If we can learn how to interpret this information correctly, it could be used to improve management and welfare assessment. Vocalization may be viewed as a subjective commentary, by an individual, on its own internal state. The vocal behaviour of cattle is potentially […]

Graded leadership by dominant animals in a herd of female beef cattle on pasture

The role of dominant individuals in leading groups of animals is not yet well understood. We investigated whether dominant beef cows, Bos taurus, have more influence on herd movement on pasture than more subordinate cows. A herd of 15 Gasconne cows was observed for a 3-week period between dawn and dusk. The positions of all […]