Browsing by Subject "animal welfare"

Sort by: Order: Results:

Now showing items 1-19 of 19
  • Väärikkälä, Sofia Susanna; Hänninen, Laura Talvikki; Nevas, Mari Anne (2019)
    Simple Summary Official on-farm inspections are carried out throughout the European Union every year to ensure farm compliance with animal welfare standards. The aim of this study was to analyze Finnish inspection data in order to find out how well cattle and pig farms comply with animal welfare standards, to reveal the most common non-compliances and to identify possible farm risk factors. About every fourth inspected Finnish cattle and pig farm did not comply with the animal welfare standards. Examples of factors that increased the risk of non-compliance were small herd size, tie-stall housing and outdoor rearing. Inadequate lying area in cattle farms and a lack of enrichment material in pig farms were the most common non-compliances. The regional differences found may indicate differences in inspectors' interpretations or ways in conducting inspections. As the official inspection reports contain valuable information about the welfare problems on farms, the reports should be better utilized in risk analysis, in targeting farmer education, and in making the inspections more uniform. Abstract The competent authorities of the Member States of the European Union are required to perform animal welfare inspections on livestock farms. The data obtained from these official inspections performed in Finnish cattle and pig farms in 2010-2015 were used with the aim of estimating the prevalence of the most common non-compliances and identifying underlying risk factors. The prevalence of non-compliant cattle and pig farms was 24.2% and 27.9%, respectively. In cattle, the most common problem was an inadequate lying area followed by deficient housing conditions for calves; in pigs, it was a lack of enrichment material. The non-compliances concerning cattle were most frequently detected in autumn and in farms with small herd size, with tie-stall housing and outdoor rearing year-round. The pig farms with a farrow-to-finish unit had a higher prevalence of non-compliances than other production types. The prevalence of the non-compliant farms differed notably between the regions. It can be concluded that the cattle welfare inspections should be performed with a focus on the cold and rainy seasons and at small farms, whereas the pig welfare inspections should mainly focus on farrow-to-finish units. The data received from official inspections should be efficiently utilized in the development of animal welfare inspection system, with the aim of risk-based, consistent and uniform inspections. In addition, the data should be utilized in targeting information for farmers.
  • Aromaa, M.; Lilja-Maula, L.; Rajamäki, M. M. (2019)
    Brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS) is a major welfare problem in short-nosed breeds, such as the French Bulldog and Pug. In addition to respiratory difficulties, exercise intolerance and impaired recovery are major signs of BOAS. To select healthier breeding animals, exercise tolerance tests, such as the 1,000-m walk test, are already used in several countries for brachycephalic dogs, although evidence supporting their use is still scarce. The aims of this study were to assess the daily welfare of young, breeding-age French Bulldogs (n = 44) and Pugs (n = 51) using an owner questionnaire, and to evaluate 6-min walk test (6MWT) and 1,000-m walk test usability for differentiation between non-or mildly BOAS-affected dogs and more severely affected dogs. Only four out of 95 French Bulldog and Pug owners reported that the BOAS signs limited the daily activities of their dogs. However, according to the physical, examination-based veterinary BOAS grading, 31/95 of the dogs had moderate to severe BOAS signs. In both breeds, the more severely affected dogs performed both exercise tests more poorly than those with no or mild BOAS signs. The longer exercise, namely the 1,000-m test, seemed slightly better able at differentiating between affected dogs and less affected ones. The results of this study further support the use of exercise tests as an important part of the breeding selection in French Bulldogs and Pugs. By influencing the breed standards set by Kennel Clubs and by using breeding selection tools, the harmful impacts of brachycephaly can be diminished.
  • Tuomola, Kati; Mäki-Kihniä, Nina; Valros, Anna; Mykkänen, Anna; Kujala-Wirth, Minna (2021)
    Bit-related oral lesions are common and may impair horse welfare. The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of oral lesions and their risk factors in a sample of Finnish event horses. The rostral part of the oral cavity (the bit area) of 208 event horses (127 warmbloods, 52 coldbloods, and 29 ponies) was examined in a voluntary inspection after the last competition phase, i.e., the cross-country test. Acute lesions were observed in 52% (109/208) of the horses. The lesion status was graded as no acute lesions for 48% (99/208), mild for 22% (45/208), moderate for 26% (55/208) and severe for 4% (9/208) of the horses. The inner lip commissure was the most common lesion location observed in 39% (81/208) of the horses. A multivariable logistic regression model with data of 174 horses was applied to risk factor analysis. Horses wearing thin (10-13 mm) (OR 3.5, CI 1.4-8.7) or thick (18-22 mm) (OR 3.4, CI 1.4-8.0) bits had a higher risk of moderate/severe lesion status than horses wearing middle-sized (14-17 mm) bits (P = 0.003). Breed was associated with moderate/severe lesion status (P = 0.02). The risk was higher for warmbloods (reference group) and coldbloods (OR 2.0, CI 0.88-4.7) compared with ponies (OR 0.2, CI 0.04-0.87). Mares were at higher risk of moderate/severe lesion status (OR 2.2, CI 1.1-4.5) than geldings (reference group) (P = 0.03). Bar lesions were more common in horses with unjointed bits (40%, 8/20) than with basic double-jointed (10%, 5/52), formed double-jointed (8%, 6/78) or single-jointed bits (5%, 2/40) (Fisher's exact test, P = 0.002). The results of this study suggest that thin and thick bits and mare sex should be considered risk factors for mouth lesions. In addition, in this sample ponies had smaller risk for lesions than other horse breeds. We encourage adopting bit area monitoring as a new routine by horse handlers and as a welfare measure by competition organizers for randomly drawn horses.
  • Norring, Marianna; Valros, Anna Elisabet; Bergman, Paula Susanna; Marchant-Forde, Jeremy; Heinonen, Mari Leena (2019)
    Group housing of gestating sows benefits their welfare by allowing them freedom of movement and the opportunity for social interaction. However, social life could also bring disadvantages for individuals who receive direct aggression or are displaced from the feeder. The aim of this study was to investigate associations between social behaviour, body condition and live weight. Gestating sows (n=298) were investigated on a commercial farm. Sows were housed in mixed parity groups where two single space, ad libitum trough feeders served 12 animals. Sows were weighed, body condition scored and had their back fat layer measured at mixing, 4 weeks after insemination and again before farrowing. Social status was estimated based on the numbers of won and lost agonistic interactions at mixing and at the end of gestation. In addition, tear staining was scored before the farrowing and reproductive performance data were collected. With the aid of video recordings, 100 to 150 interactions per group were observed. Winning percentage at mixing and at the end of gestation were associated (P
  • Väärikkälä, S.; Artukka, S-M; Hänninen, L.; Nevas, M. (2018)
    The aim of this study was to broaden the understanding of Finnish cattle and pig farmers' perceptions of the on-site animal welfare inspections carried out by official authorities in livestock farms. The study was conducted using an electronic questionnaire, aimed at 500 Finnish cattle and 500 pig farmers. Responses were received from 96 cattle farmers and 105 pig farmers, of which 20 and 55, respectively, had undergone an animal welfare inspection. It was found that most of the farmers recognised the need for animal welfare inspections, but also that a more negative attitude was prevalent among farmers who had undergone these inspections. The inspection itself was a far more negative experience if the farmer had not understood the reason for the inspection, no opportunity existed to be heard, or the findings of the report were found to be unclear. The results suggest that although the farmers generally approve of inspections, their own negative experiences affect their perceptions. Moving forward, efforts should be made by inspectors to enhance the level of communication, thereby ensuring the findings of the report are clear to the farmer.
  • Ternman, Emma; Pastell, Matti; Hänninen, Laura; Agenäs, Sigrid; Nielsen, Per P. (2018)
    In human sleep studies, the probability of discomfort from the electrodes and the change in environment usually results in first-night recordings being discarded. Sleep recordings from the first night in human subjects often differ in amount of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep and the overall sleep architecture. This study investigated whether recordings of sleep states in dairy cows also show a first-night effect. Non-invasive electrophysiological recordings were carried out on nine cows of the Swedish Red breed during three consecutive 24-hour periods (recording days 1–3). Overall, cows spent 12.9 ± 1.4 hours awake, 8.2 ± 1 hours ruminating, 57.2 ± 20.3 min drowsing, 44.1 ± 20.2 min in REM sleep and 64.3 ± 38.1 min in NREM (non-rapid eye movement) sleep (mean ± SD) and there were no significant differences between recording days in total duration for any of the sleep and awake states. However, the bouts of REM sleep and rumination were longer, and the awake bouts were shorter, at night time compared to daytime, regardless of recording day. The awake bouts also showed an interaction effect with longer bouts at daytime during day 1 compared to daytime on day 3. Data on sleep and awake states recorded in adult dairy cows during three consecutive 24-h periods showed great variation in sleep time between cows, but total time for each state was not significantly affected by recording day. Further and more detailed studies of how sleep architecture is affected by recording day is necessary to fully comprehend the first-night effect in dairy cows.
  • EFSA Panel Anim Hlth Welf AHAW; Nielsen, Soren Saxmose; Sihvonen, Liisa Helena (2020)
    The AGRI committee of the European Parliament requested EFSA to assess the welfare of rabbits farmed in different production systems, including organic production, and to update its 2005 scientific opinion about the health and welfare of rabbits kept for meat production. Considering reproducing does, kits and growing rabbits, this scientific opinion focusses on six different housing systems, namely conventional cages, structurally enriched cages, elevated pens, floor pens, outdoor/partially outdoor systems and organic systems. To compare the level of welfare in the different housing systems and rabbit categories, welfare impact scores for 20 welfare consequences identified from the literature were calculated, taking their occurrence, duration and severity into account. Based on the overall welfare impact score (sum of scores for the single welfare consequences), obtained via a 2-step expert knowledge elicitation process, the welfare of reproducing does is likely (certainty 66-90%) to be lower in conventional cages compared to the five other housing systems. In addition, it is likely to extremely likely (certainty 66-99%) that the welfare of kits is lower in outdoor systems compared to the other systems and that the welfare is higher in elevated pens than in the other systems. Finally, it is likely to extremely likely (certainty 66-99%) that the welfare of growing rabbits is lower in conventional cages compared to the other systems and that the welfare is higher in elevated pens than in the other systems. Ranking of the welfare consequences allowed an analysis of the main welfare consequences within each system and rabbit category. It was concluded that for reproducing does, as well as growing rabbits, welfare consequences related to behavioural restrictions were more prominent in conventional cages, elevated pens and enriched cages, whereas those related to health problems were more important in floor pens, outdoor and organic systems. Housing in organic rabbit farming is diverse, which can result in different welfare consequences, but the overall welfare impact scores suggest that welfare in organic systems is generally good. (C) 2020 European Food Safety Authority. EFSA Journal published by John Wiley and Sons Ltd on behalf of European Food Safety Authority.
  • Lindertz, Mia (Helsingfors universitet, 2005)
    Hännänpurenta on taloudellisesti merkittävimpiä ongelmia lihasikaloissa. Hännänpurenta on monisyinen olosuhdeongelma, stressioire, joka johtuu sian luontaisten käyttäytymistarpeiden estymisestä. Tällaisia tarpeita ovat tonkiminen, ympäristön tutkiminen kärsän avulla, rypeminen sekä sosiaalisten kontaktien luominen. Tieteellisissä tutkimuksissa on tunnistettu useita altistavia tekijöitä ympäristössä, ruokinnassa ja yksilöllisissä eroissa. Ympäristötekijöistä tärkeimmät altistavat tekijät ovat ritilälattia, suuri ryhmäkoko, ahtaus, veto, huono ilmanvaihto sekä virikkeiden puute. Kuivikkeiden käyttöä pidetään tärkeimpänä ennaltaehkäisevänä tekijänä. Hoidoksi suositellaan sekä uhrin että purijan eristämistä sekä uhrin hoitamista penisilliinillä. Tutkimuksen päätehtävänä on tunnistaa hännänpurennalle altistavia tekijöitä terveydenhuoltoprojektiin osallistuvilla tiloilla. Tutkimus on osa A-tuottajien Euroopan maatalouden tuki- ja ohjausrahaston (EMOTR) rahoittamaa Terveet jalat - ehjä häntä -hanketta. Tilat osallistuivat vapaaehtoisesti projektiin hännänpurennan vähentämiseksi. Aineistona käytettiin Atrian Kuopion teurastamon lihantarkastustietoja vuosilta 2000-2002 sekä tilakäynneillä tehtyjä olosuhdeselvityksiä. Osallistuvista tiloista valittiin 36 tilaa, joilla oli todettu eniten hännänpurenta- ja paisehylkäyksiä. Tilat ryhmiteltiin hylkäysten perusteella kolmeen osaan, joista tutkimusaineiston analyysiin kelpuutettiin ylä- ja alakolmannes (paljon hännänpurentaa ja vähän hännänpurentaa). Näin lopullinen tutkimusaineisto muodostui yhteensä 24 tilasta. Tilakäyntien ja olosuhdeselvitysten avulla vertailtiin "paljon" ja "vähän" ryhmien olosuhteita altistavien tekijöiden tunnistamiseksi. Tilakäyntien tuloksia verrattiin tekijästä riippuen joko vertaamalla ryhmien keskiarvoja tai prosenttiosuuksia keskenään. Tilastollista merkitsevyyttä testattiin Studentin T-testillä, varianssianalyysillä ja khin-neliötestillä. Tilavertailun perusteella tärkeimmiksi altistaviksi tekijöiksi osoittautuivat sopimaton lämpötila (<14 tai >22°C), suuri ryhmäkoko sekä riittämätön valaistus. Altistavia tekijöitä näyttivät myös olevan pieni kaukalotila sekä ritilän suuri osuus lattiasta. Suojaavia tekijöitä näyttivät olevan kuivikkeiden käyttö, lattialämmitys sekä sairaiden sikojen hyvä hoito.
  • Kupsala, Saara (2010)
    In recent years farm animal issues have become increasingly politicised. Consumer concern for farm animal welfare has increased, and there has been a growing demand for alternative livestock products. Organic animal farming has been an important alternative livestock production scheme that has attempted to respond to these growing farm animal welfare concerns. In this research I investigate how the meanings of farm animal welfare are constructed in the discourses of the Finnish Association for Organic Farming (FAOF). FAOF is a national umbrella organisation for societies operating in the organic sector. It is a central player in the societal discussion concerning organic farming and represents organic farmers in public discussion and the policy making arena. This research participates in the discussion of human-animal studies concerning the social meanings of farm animals and the politicisation of animal issues. My aim is to increase understanding concerning the meanings of animal welfare in alternative livestock systems, which have been hitherto subjected to minimal analysis in the sociology of human-animal relations. The most important sources include Adrian Franklin's, Arnold Arluke's and Clinton R. Sander's writings. In addition, I aim to contribute to discussions in organic farming studies concerning the expansion and "conventionalisation" of organic farming as well as the growing business and governmental involvement in the organic sector. The most important sources include Julie Guthman's, Magnus Bostrbm's and Mikael Klintman's writings. I study the meanings of farm animal welfare in FAOF's texts from the theoretical perspective of social constructionism. The data consist of 268 Luomulehti articles, FAOF's documents as well as interviews with five FAOF's representatives and activists. The methodological approach is based on discourse analysis, and I have analysed the data by coding it according to different themes with NVivo software. I argue that there are three main discourses concerning the meanings of animal welfare in organic farming in FAOF's texts: an ideological discourse, a market-oriented discourse and an animal welfare business discourse. In the ideological discourse, organic livestock production is portrayed to be a value-based choice, and stringent animal welfare standards are supported with moral arguments. In the market-oriented discourse, organic livestock production is represented as an economic choice. Organic farming is represented as a respectable and rational form of farming and a certain distance is taken from any kind of "organic ideologism" or "religiousity". This discourse includes a negative attitude toward stringent animal welfare standards on economic grounds. In the animal welfare business discourse, an attempt is made to reconcile the tensions between the ideological discourse and the market-oriented discourse. As in the ideological discourse, high animal welfare standards are supported, but not with moral arguments, but with economic arguments like in the market-oriented discourse. My main thesis is that ideological argumentation has become weaker in FAOF's discourses while market-based argumentation has increased its foothold. This is related to a wider trend of expansion, institutionalisation and "normalisation" in organic farming. As the sector has expanded, it has contained an increasing amount of players who do not share the original ideologies of the organic movement. These actors are approached in a conventional way in FAOF by focusing on the issues of profitability and economics. At the same time FAOF has been increasingly profiled as an interest group for organic farmers rather than an ideological organisation representing a social movement. In this way, FAOF has responded to the growth in the number of market-oriented organic farmers in the organic sector and in its membership generally. In addition, as FAOF has started increasingly discussing standards in the governmental arena, rather than developing its own private standard, it has needed to translate ideology into the language of civil servants and politicians - i.e. into the language of money.
  • Tucker, Cassandra; Jensen, Margit Bak; de Passille, Anne Marie; Hänninen, Laura; Rushen, Jeff (2021)
    Adequate time lying down is often considered an important aspect of dairy cow welfare. We examine what is known about cows’ motivation to lie down and the consequences for health and other indicators of biological function when this behavior is thwarted. We review the environmental and animal-based factors that affect lying time in the context of animal welfare. Cows can be highly motivated to lie down. They show rebound lying behavior after periods of forced standing and will sacrifice other activities, such as feeding, to lie down for an adequate amount of time. They will work, by pushing levers or weighted gates, to lie down and show possible indicators of frustration when lying behavior is thwarted. Some evidence suggests that risk of lameness is increased in environments that provide unfavorable conditions for cows to lie down and cows are forced to stand. Lameness itself can result in longer lying times, whereas mastitis reduces it. Cow-based factors such as reproductive status, age, and milk production influence lying time, but the welfare implications of these differences are unknown. Lower lying times are reported in pasture-based systems, dry lots, and bedded packs (9 h/d) compared with tiestalls and freestalls (10 to 12 h/d) in cross-farm research. Unfavorable conditions, including too few lying stalls for the number of cows, hard or wet lying surfaces, inadequate bedding, stalls that are too small or poorly designed, heat, and rain all reduce lying time. Time constraints, such as feeding or milking, can influence lying time. However, more information is needed about the implications of mediating factors such as the effect of the standing surface (concrete, pasture, or other surfaces) and cow behavior while standing (e.g., being restrained, walking, grazing) to understand the effect of low lying times on animal welfare. Many factors contribute to the difficulty of finding a valid threshold for daily lying time to use in the assessment of animal welfare. Although higher lying times often correspond with cow comfort, and lower lying times are seen in unfavorable conditions, exceptions occur, namely when cows lie down for longer because of disease or when they spend more time standing because of estrus or parturition, or to engage in other behaviors. In conclusion, lying behavior is important to dairy cattle, but caution and a full understanding of the context and the character of the animals in question is needed before drawing firm conclusions about animal welfare from measures of lying time.
  • More, Simon; EFSA Panel on Animal Health and Welfare (AHAW). (2017)
  • Chapinal, Nuria; de Passille, Anne Marie; Pastell, Matti; Hänninen, Laura; Munksgaard, Lene; Rushen, Jeff (2011)
    The aims were to determine whether measures of acceleration of the legs and back of dairy cows while they walk could help detect changes in gait or locomotion associated with lameness and differences in the walking surface. In 2 experiments, 12 or 24 multiparous dairy cows were fitted with five 3-dimensional accelerometers, 1 attached to each leg and 1 to the back, and acceleration data were collected while cows walked in a straight line on concrete (experiment 1) or on both concrete and rubber (experiment 2). Cows were video-recorded while walking to assess overall gait, asymmetry of the steps, and walking speed. In experiment 1, cows were selected to maximize the range of gait scores, whereas no clinically lame cows were enrolled in experiment 2. For each accelerometer location, overall acceleration was calculated as the magnitude of the 3-dimensional acceleration vector and the variance of overall acceleration, as well as the asymmetry of variance of acceleration within the front and rear pair of legs. In experiment 1, the asymmetry of variance of acceleration in the front and rear legs was positively correlated with overall gait and the visually assessed asymmetry of the steps (r ≥0.6). Walking speed was negatively correlated with the asymmetry of variance of the rear legs (r=−0.8) and positively correlated with the acceleration and the variance of acceleration of each leg and back (r ≥0.7). In experiment 2, cows had lower gait scores [2.3 vs. 2.6; standard error of the difference (SED)=0.1, measured on a 5-point scale] and lower scores for asymmetry of the steps (18.0 vs. 23.1; SED=2.2, measured on a continuous 100-unit scale) when they walked on rubber compared with concrete, and their walking speed increased (1.28 vs. 1.22m/s; SED=0.02). The acceleration of the front (1.67 vs. 1.72g; SED=0.02) and rear (1.62 vs. 1.67g; SED=0.02) legs and the variance of acceleration of the rear legs (0.88 vs. 0.94g; SED=0.03) were lower when cows walked on rubber compared with concrete. Despite the improvements in gait score that occurred when cows walked on rubber, the asymmetry of variance of acceleration of the front leg was higher (15.2 vs. 10.4%; SED=2.0). The difference in walking speed between concrete and rubber correlated with the difference in the mean acceleration and the difference in the variance of acceleration of the legs and back (r ≥0.6). Three-dimensional accelerometers seem to be a promising tool for lameness detection on farm and to study walking surfaces, especially when attached to a leg.
  • Tuomola, Kati; Maki-Kihniä, Nina; Kujala-Wirth, Minna; Mykkänen, Anna; Valros, Anna (2019)
    Oral lesions in the bit area are common in horses, but not comprehensively studied in harness racing horses. This study describes the type and occurrence of oral soft tissue lesions in the area affected by the bit, hereafter called the bit area, in trotters after a race. Based on our results, we suggest a system for scoring lesions according to size, type (bruise or wound), age, and depth (superficial or deep). The data was collected during a welfare program for trotters, conducted by The Finnish Trotting and Breeding Association (Suomen Hippos ry). The rostral part of the mouth of 261 horses (151 Standardbreds, 78 Finnhorses, and 32 ponies) was examined after a race in a systematic manner, using a bright light source without sedation or a mouth gag. The lip commissures (outside and inside), bars of the mandible, buccal area near the second upper premolar teeth, tongue, and hard palate were visually examined; bars of the mandible were also palpated. Points were assigned to every lesion and then added together, such that each horse got an acute lesion score. Based on the score, the horses were divided into four groups (A- D) as follows: Group A, no lesions; B, mild lesions; C, moderate lesions; D, severe lesions. Of all the horses examined, 84% (219/261) had acute lesions in the bit area. In total, 21% (55/261) had mild lesions, 43% (113/261) had moderate lesions, and 20% (51/261) had severe lesions. Visible bleeding outside the mouth was observed in 2% (6/261) of the horses. Further, 5% of the horses (13/261) had blood on the bit when it was removed from the mouth, even though no blood was visible outside the mouth. In conclusion, soft tissue lesions in the bit area were common in the Finnish trotters examined. Moreover, the absence of blood outside the mouth does not rule out serious injuries inside the mouth. The scoring system presented can be used for evaluating the severity of oral lesions in different equestrian disciplines and populations to allow for comparable data across studies.
  • Joki, Milla-Maria (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    This thesis examines Facebook posts that Finnish animal welfare associations have published about rescue cats. The object of analysis is established as ‘rescue cat stories’ – a particular kind of narrative that tells the story of one or many cats who are rescued or attempted to be rescued by people who work or volunteer for animal welfare associations. Drawing from the fields of feminist animal studies and critical animal studies, the analysis discusses what thematic elements are prominent in viral rescue cat stories that promote neutering and how these stories are constructed narratively and affectively in a social media environment. The research material consists of four individual narratives: three stories of individual cats and one story of a feral cat colony. In order to locate the research topic, the study discusses what kind of differences and similarities there are in animal welfare, animal rights, and animal liberation philosophies, how the philosophies tend to interlock in certain contexts, and where animal rescue work is located in relation to other forms of animal advocacy. Finnish animal rescue work, which has previously been marginalised in academic research, is regarded with a feminist sensitivity that pays heed to the gendered nature of the caring work that rescue workers are involved in while also taking into account the risk of speciesism that follows from considering only some species as ‘protectable’ and ‘lovable’. In agreement with recent research that has been conducted in the field of feminist animal studies, the analysis contests the stark binary of abolitionism and welfarism and suggests that it is crucial to consider interspecies entanglements without resorting to ableist rationalisations that argue that it would be better for dependent domesticated animals to go extinct than to live as vulnerable beings. The topic of the research is analysed thematically with the help of Sara Ahmed’s theorisation of affects, affective economies, and sticky concepts and Susanna Paasonen’s theorisation of viscerally grabbing resonances. Additionally, Ruth Page’s delineation of mediated narrative analysis is employed in order to distinguish what is characteristic of stories that are shared in a social media environment. The methodological concept of ‘shared stories’ further informs the multimodal, mediated, and participatory nature of narratives that are produced, reproduced, and encountered in a social media environment. The analysis identified the act of naming, death, and mourning as prominent thematic elements that form the backbone of viral rescue cat stories. While the act of naming serves an important role in establishing cats as individuals, it does not seem to entail as much power to ignite the affective economy of a shared story as the aspects of death and mourning do. The goal of all the stories studied in the thesis is to promote feline neutering, but neutering as such does not seem to be sticky enough to ignite the affective economy of a post. Therefore, the research material suggests that the kind of stories that provided a sufficiently contextualised account of naming, death (or the risk of death), and mourning were more likely to grab the audience and generate interactions. Finally, the analysis concludes by stating that while it is possible that the affect-based focus on sharing a particular kind of reaction entails the risk of resonating in anthropocentric registers, other-oriented animal narratives can also have the power of inspiring simulative, other-directed empathy.
  • Norring, M.; Haggman, J.; Simojoki, H.; Tamminen, P.; Winckler, C.; Pastell, M. (2014)
  • Larsen, M. L.; Gustafsson, A.; Marchant-Forde, J. N.; Valros, A. (2019)
    Tear staining (TS) in the pig has been related to different stressors and may be a useful tool for assessing animal welfare on farm. The aim of the current study was to investigate TS across the finisher period and its possible relation to age, growth, sex and experimentally induced stressors. The study included 80 finisher pens divided between three batches. Within each batch, the pens either included pigs with docked or undocked tails, had straw provided (150 g/pig/day) or not and had a low (1.21 m2/pig, 11 pigs) or high stocking density (0.73 m2/pig, 18 pigs). Tear staining (scores 1 to 4; from smaller to larger tear stain area, respectively) and tail damage were scored on each individual pig three times per week over the 9-week study period, and the individual maximum TS score within each week was chosen for further analysis. Data were analysed using logistic regression separately for each of the four possible TS score levels. The TS scores 1 and 2 decreased with weeks into the study period and were negatively related to the average daily gain (ADG) of the pigs, whereas the TS score 4 increased with weeks into the study period and was positively related to ADG. None of the TS scores differed between females and castrated males, and neither straw provision nor lowering the stocking density affected the TS scores. However, the TS score 1 decreased the last week before an event of tail damage (at least one pig in the pen with a bleeding tail wound), whereas the TS score 4 increased. The results of the current study advocates for a relation between TS and the factors such as age, growth and stress in the pig, while no relation was found between TS and the environmental factors straw provision and lowered stocking density. The relations to age and growth are important to take into consideration if using TS as a welfare assessment measure in the pig in the future.
  • Väärikkälä, Sofia; Hänninen, Laura; Nevas, Mari (2020)
    The aim of the study was to evaluate the job satisfaction of official veterinarians working in the field of animal welfare control and identify both positive features and challenges of their work. An electronic questionnaire was designed to evaluate job satisfaction. The questionnaire was responded to by 73 of the 98 Finnish official veterinarians working in the field of animal welfare control. The Spearman's rank correlation coefficient was used to evaluate the relation between stress and different work-related factors. More than half of the respondents reported work-related stress or fatigue. Threatening situations, disturbed work–private life balance and a high amount of overtime work were found to be frequent underlying causes of stress. Fieldwork, especially when working alone, was perceived as the most challenging part of the work. Of the respondents, three out of four performed animal welfare inspections mainly alone. Although the respondents reported getting additional help to perform an inspection most of the times they needed it, a wish to work in a pair was highlighted. The results of the present study indicate that official veterinarians often experience work-related stress and fatigue. By testing interventions shown to be beneficial, such as providing adequate support within the work community, decreasing the workload and enabling inspections to be done in pairs, job satisfaction could be improved.
  • Norring, M.; Valros, A.; Valaja, J.; Sihvo, H-K; Immonen, K.; Puolanne, E. (2019)
    Wooden breast myopathy, a condition where broiler breast muscles show a hardened consistency post-mortem, has been described recently. However, it is not known how wooden breast myopathy affects the bird activity or welfare. Altogether, over 340 birds of five commonly used commercial hybrids were housed in 25 pens, and sample birds killed at ages of 22, 32, 36, 39 and 43 days. Their breast muscle condition was assessed post-mortem by palpation. The birds were gait scored and their latency to lie was measured before killing. For further behavior observations, one affected and healthy bird in 12 pens were followed on 5 days for 20 minutes using video recordings. The connection of myopathy to gait score and activity was analyzed with mixed models. A higher gait score of wooden-breast-affected birds than that of unaffected birds (2.9 +/- 0.1 v. 2.6 +/- 0.1, P <0.05) indicated a higher level of locomotor difficulties over all age groups. The wooden-breast-affected birds had fewer crawling or movement bouts while lying down compared with unaffected (P <0.05). Wooden breast myopathy-affected birds were heavier (2774 +/- 91 v. 2620 +/- 91 g; P <0.05) and had higher breast muscle yield (21 +/- 1 v. 19 +/- 1%; P <0.05) than unaffected birds overall. Older birds had longer lying bouts, longer total lying time, fewer walking bouts, more difficulties to walk and to stand compared with younger birds (P <0.05). Birds with poorer gait had longer total lying time and fewer walking bouts (P <0.05). Birds with greatest breast muscle yield had the largest number of lying bouts (P <0.05). It was concluded that wooden breast myopathy was associated with an impairment of gait scores, and may thus be partly linked to the common walking abnormalities in broilers.