Assurance schemes as a tool to tackle genetic welfare problems in farm animals: broilers

Farm assurance schemes can set standards to assure compliance with specific requirements relating to animal welfare. As such, standards can be set to address genetic-related welfare problems in farm animals, such as those associated with fast growth rates in meat chickens (broilers) (Gallus gallus domesticus). Based on discussions with broiler breeding companies, broiler producers and […]

Adverse impact of industrial animal agriculture on the health and welfare of farmed animals

Industrial animal agriculture is grounded in the concept of maximizing productivity and profit. Selective breeding for maximum productivity in one characteristic of the animal (e.g. milk yield in cows, or breast meat in broiler chickens) has resulted in genotypes and phenotypes that may predispose the animals to poor health and welfare. The conditions in which […]

Speed of exploration and risk-taking behavior are linked to corticosterone titres in zebra finches

The existence of consistent individual differences in behavioral strategies (“personalities” or coping styles) has been reported in several animal species. Recent work in great tits has shown that such traits are heritable and exhibit significant genetic variation. Free-living birds respond to environmental stresses by up-regulating corticosterone production. Behavior during mild stress can occur in accordance […]

Selective breeding of primates for use in research: consequences and challenges

Primates are bred in captivity for a number of purposes, from zoo-based captive breeding programmes for conservation to breeding for biomedical research. In each case, breeding animals that are fit for purpose, either as viable candidates for reintroduction or as valid research models, has presented challenges and resulted in steep learning curves. The breeding of […]

Selection against aggressiveness in pigs at re-grouping: practical application and implications for long-term behavioural patterns

The routine mixing of pigs causes aggression that cannot be greatly reduced by low-cost environmental changes. The variability and heritability of aggressiveness are discussed and both appear adequate to make selection against aggressiveness worthwhile in growerstage pigs. Selection would require rapid phenotyping of many animals for which a validated indicator genetically correlated to aggressive behaviour […]