Is boredom an animal welfare concern?

Boredom, while often casually attributed to non-human animals by both laypeople and scientists, has received little empirical study in this context. It is sometimes dismissed by others as anthropomorphic or a trivial concern in comparison to other welfare problems faced in captivity. Recent work on human boredom, however, has led to evidence that, far from […]

Exploratory and antipredator behaviours differ between territorial and nonterritorial male lizards

Alternative territorial tactics may be part of a broader behavioural tendency that can influence the expression of other behavioural traits.We compared the exploratory and predator avoidance behaviours of territorial and floater male water skinks, Eulamprus heatwolei, to identify whether these alternative behavioural tactics are part of a broader behavioural dichotomy. Floater and territorial males differed […]

An ethological definition of animal welfare with special emphasis on pig behaviour


Effects of spatial food distribution on search behavior in rats (Rattus norvegicus)

To analyze how search strategies are adapted according to the geometric distribution of food sources, the authors submitted rats to a search task in which they had to explore 9 food trays in an open field and avoid visiting already-depleted trays. Trays were spatially arranged in 4 independent configurations: a cross, a 3 × 3 […]

On the Way to Assess Emotions in Animals: Do Lambs (Ovis aries) Evaluate an Event Through Its Suddenness, Novelty, or Unpredictability?

Appraisal theories provide a framework that gives insight into emotions and could allow comparisons across species. According to these theories, events are first evaluated on their suddenness, novelty, and unpredictability. The authors examined the ability of lambs (Ovis aries) to evaluate an event according to these 3 criteria through 3 tests. The lambs responded to […]

Experimental evidence for spatial learning in cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis)

Laboratory mazes were used to study spatial-learning capabilities in cuttlefish (Sepia offcinalis), using escape for reinforcement. In preliminary observations, cuttlefish in an artificial pond moved actively around the environment and appeared to learn about features of their environment. In laboratory experiments, cuttlefish exited a simple alley maze more quickly with experience and retained the learned […]

Personality affects learning performance in difficult tasks in a sex-dependent way

Animals constantly need to cope with changes in their environment. Coping with changes in cues that are associated with the location and abundance of food is essential for being able to adjust behaviourally to a variable environment. The use of cues in decision making requires appropriate levels of attention and learning ability, which may be […]

Effect of increasing amounts of straw on pigs’ explorative behaviour

According to European legislation, pigs must have permanent access to sufficient quantity of material to enable manipulation activities. However, few studies have quantified how much straw is needed to fulfil the requirements of growing pigs. We investigated the effect of increasing amount of straw on pigs’ manipulation of the straw, and hypothesised that after a […]

Degree of synchrony based on individual observations underlines the importance of concurrent access to enrichment materials in finishing pigs

Pigs are sociable animals with a strong motivation to explore and forage, and it has been stated that they have a strong motivation to do so synchronously. We examined the synchrony of exploration in groups of finishing pigs when enrichment materials were offered. We used a novel measure of relative synchrony for which no artificial […]