Do pigs distinguish between situations of different emotional valences during anticipation?

An animal’s welfare is strongly affected by its emotional state. Thus, many recent studies have focused on measuring the emotional states and responses of animals. However, there is still a lack of knowledge on assessing positive emotions, although it is widely accepted that positive emotions are needed to ensure good welfare. In the present study, […]

Degree of social isolation affects behavioural and vocal response patterns in dwarf goats (Capra hircus)

Separation from the group presents a serious challenge for social animals. This stressful and disagreeable situation can impair animal welfare and may have an undesirable impact on experimental data in scientific studies. In the present study, we observed whether different degrees of social isolation induced different behavioural and vocal responses in a gregarious animal species, […]

Behavioural and cardiac responses towards conspecific distress calls in domestic pigs (Sus scrofa)

In domestic pigs, vocalisation can be an indicator of distress and negative emotional states. It might play a role in the transfer of emotion between individuals ([`]emotional contagion’ or [`]empathy’), which could result in impaired animal welfare on a group level based on the distress in an individual member of the group. The aim of […]

Vocalisation of domestic pigs () as an indicator for their adaptation towards ambient temperatures

It was tested whether the vocalisation of pigs can be used to assess their adaptability to ambient temperatures. It was hypothesised that the proportion of high-frequency vocalisation, indicating discomfort, would increase with behavioural reactions to both low and high ambient temperatures and that this relationship is modified by the weight of pigs. In addition, the […]

Behavioural indicators of anxiety: An empirical test in chimpanzees

Behavioural, pharmacological, and physiological evidence supports an association between displacement activities and anxiety in macaques. Information is scarce in other primate and non-primate species. This study contributes to the understanding of the relation between displacement activities and emotional states by investigating the correspondence between self-directed behaviour and an inherently stressful situation in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). […]

Automated recording of stress vocalisations as a tool to document impaired welfare in pigs

The vocalisations of animals are results of particular emotional states. For example, the stress screams of pigs may be indicators of disturbed welfare. Our objective was to develop a system to monitor and record levels of stress calls in pigs, which could be employed in environments of breeding, transportation and slaughter. Using a combination of […]

Auditing animal welfare and making practical improvements in beef-, pork- and sheep-slaughter plants

A welfare audit that utilises numerically scored, animal-based outcome measures has been used successfully by McDonald’s and other restaurant companies for over ten years. In 2010, audit data from two restaurant companies indicated that all 30 of their North American plants rendered 95% or more of the cattle insensible with a single shot from a […]

Vocal response to pain in piglets

Three experiments were performed attempting to establish the validity of vocal measures as an indicator of the immediate response to pain in domestic piglets. Vocalisations were measured while piglets were subjected to the routine farm practice of castration without anaesthetic, or restrained identically but not castrated (i.e., sham-castrated). In Experiment 1 we measured how calling […]

Short term consequences of preventing visitor access to kennels on noise and the behaviour and physiology of dogs housed in a rescue shelter

Re-homing centres present a range of potential stressors to kennelled dogs which are likely to impact negatively on their welfare. Despite the presence of visitors to the kennel often being considered a potential stressor, empirical investigation into their impact on the behaviour and welfare of kennelled dogs in re-homing centres is lacking. This study investigated […]

A review of behavioural methods to study emotion and mood in pigs, Sus scrofa

The study of emotions in animals is of increasing importance to a number of disciplines such as animal welfare science and affective neuroscience. Pigs are a common farm animal species, most often reared in intensive systems. Moreover, they are increasingly being used in laboratories. To accurately understand the welfare needs of these animals, we need […]