Aggressive behavior and stress response after oxytocin administration in male Norway rats selected for different attitudes to humans

Oxytocin (OXT) is known to influence on social behaviors, including intermale aggression and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis activity. However, there are no data on the effects of oxytocin on intermale aggression and HPA axis activity in rats selected for elimination and enhancement of aggressiveness towards humans. The aim of this study is to elucidate the role […]

Genetics and genomics of animal behaviour and welfare–Challenges and possibilities

Traditionally, the contribution of applied ethology to animal welfare science has concentrated on understanding the reactions of animals to their housing conditions. Domestication has had small effects on fundamental aspects of animal behaviour, and therefore, the needs of present day domesticated animals are closely related to the evolutionary history of the ancestors. However, the last […]

Selection against stereotypic behaviour may have contradictory consequences for the welfare of farm mink (Mustela vison)

The present study aimed to examine if divergent selection for stereotypic behaviour in mink influences the welfare of the animals. Two breeding lines were used, a high stereotyping line (HSL, N = 139) and a low stereotyping line (LSL, N = 132). Their welfare was assessed on the basis of adrenocortical activity (faecal cortisol metabolites, FCM), confident versus fearful […]

The impact of genetic selection for increased milk yield on the welfare of dairy cows

Milk yield per cow has more than doubled in the previous 40 years and many cows now produce more than 20,000 kg of milk per lactation. The increase in production should be viewed with concern because: i) the increase in milk yield has been accompanied by declining fertility, increasing leg and metabolic problems and declining […]

Sensory varieties in concentrate diets for stabled horses: effects on behaviour and selection

There is little published information about feeding behaviour of horses presented with concentrate diets and whether restricted variety affects foraging behaviour on concentrate diets is currently unclear. This study investigated the effects of sensory variety on diet selection and behaviour of stabled horses. In three replicated trials, four low energy concentrates were presented. In trial […]

The use of a behaviour test for the selection of dogs for service and breeding, I: Method of testing and evaluating test results in the adult dog, demands on different kinds of service dogs, sex and breed differences

The behaviour test results of 1310 German shepherds and 797 Labrador retrievers, 450–600 days of age, were evaluated. The purpose was to investigate whether the behaviour tests, previously used at the Swedish Dog Training Centre, could be used to select dogs for different kinds of work and for breeding. Ten behavioural characteristics were scored based […]

Fear-Related Behaviour in Two Mouse Strains Differing in Litter Size

The present experiment compared the fear-related behaviour of a mouse strain selected over 101 generations for high litter size with that of a randomly selected strain. The H-strain, selected for large litter size, has a mean (± SD) litter size at birth of 21.5 ± 3.5 pups. The randomly bred C-strain has a mean (± […]

Introduction: Darwinian selection, selective breeding and the welfare of animals

The 150th anniversary of the publication of The Origin of Species… is a good time to consider how selection can affect welfare — the quality of life. Darwin (1859) quoted Youatt’s description of selective breeding: “…the magician’s wand, by means of which he may summon into life whatever form and mould he pleases”. Evolution has […]

How to spend a token? Trade-offs between food variety and food preference in tufted capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella)

Humans and non-human animals often choose among different alternatives by seeking variety. Here we assessed whether variety-seeking, i.e. the tendency to look for diversity in services and goods, occurs in capuchin monkeys–South-American primates which–as humans-are omnivorous-are capuchin monkeys and susceptible to food monotony. Capuchins chose between a Variety-token, that allowed to select one among 10 […]

Early life behavioural differences in wild caught and domesticated sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax)

Behavioural studies comparing hatchery and wild-caught fish are useful to improve selection for aquaculture and restocking programmes. We examined swimming behaviour characteristics in wild captured and domesticated sea bass juveniles before and after eliciting a startle response at 8 different ages and always on naive individuals. We specifically investigated whether domestication impacts juvenile sea bass […]