Evaluating methods to quantify anthropogenic stressors on wild animals

Humans have a variety of direct and indirect impacts on wildlife and a number of methods have been proposed to identify and quantify anthropogenic stressors that negatively impact wildlife. The ideal method would ultimately help predict the presence, absence, or population viability of animals living with a particular stressor. We critically review seven methods that […]

Fluctuating asymmetry as an animal welfare indicator — A review of methodology and validity

It has been suggested that fluctuating asymmetry (FA) reflects an animal’s ability to cope with the sum of challenges during its growing period and, thus, is a potential welfare indicator. In this review we investigate the evidence of associations between FA and other welfare indicators measured at the level of the individual and of effects […]

Environmentally enriching American mink (Neovison vison) increases lymphoid organ weight and skeletal symmetry, and reveals differences between two sub-types of stereotypic behaviour

Enrichment studies for wild carnivores (e.g., in zoos) are often short-term, use enrichments of unknown motivational significance, and focus on glucocorticoids and stereotypic behaviour (SB), ignoring other stress-relevant variables. Our study assessed the broad behavioural and physiological effects of enriching American mink—a model carnivore—with preferred stimuli long-term, and investigated the welfare implications of individual differences […]

Both feather peckers and victims are more asymmetrical than control hens

Feather pecking is the major welfare issue facing the egg farming industry worldwide. Previous research has found a relationship between cannibalistic behaviour, fluctuating asymmetry of bilateral traits (FA) and body weight in laying hens. As cannibalism is linked to severe feather pecking, it could be suggested that a relationship between feather pecking, FA and body […]