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Agricultural Animal Welfare Does Agriculture improve the welfare of animals…? …or cause unnecessary suffering? This is not a question asked by many people of the world “A chicken in every pot, every Sunday!” General Concerns (all species) Decreasing Genetic Variability

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General Concerns(all species)

  • Decreasing Genetic Variability


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Over 95% of Dairy cows in the U.S. are Holsteins, yet there are hundreds of breeds representing a broader range of genetics


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19 breeds just on BRITISH watch list are hundreds of breeds representing a broader range of genetics

(Rare Breeds Survival Trust)


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Scottish Highland Cattle are hundreds of breeds representing a broader range of genetics


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145 British are hundreds of breeds representing a broader range of genetics

breeds of sheep

(22 on Watch list)

Rambouillet

Predominant

In U.S.


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Muscovy Duck are hundreds of breeds representing a broader range of genetics

Lack of genetic diversity occurs in many species, including chickens, ducks, cattle, and sheep (and is potentially dangerous - recall Irish potato famine).


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General Concerns are hundreds of breeds representing a broader range of genetics(all species)

  • Decreasing Genetic Variability

  • Selection for Single Trait



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~ Selection for lean pigs with low fat create problems in other areas.

content led to pigs with nervous

and high strung temperaments.

~ Chickens with extra large breasts

grew so fast they developed

arthritis and deformed legs.

Grandin & Johnson 2005


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Also, breeds are not always suited for their environment: Hereford cattle in hot, humid south, for example.


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General Concerns Hereford cattle in hot, humid south, for example.(all Ag species)

  • Decreasing Genetic Variability

  • Selection for Single Traits

  • Dystocia


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Parturition problems can be the cause of severe suffering in individual animals


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Causes of Dystocia suffering in individual animals

~ Selection for large offspring in meat breeds

~ Stress

~ Age (less a problem on large operations)


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General Concerns suffering in individual animals(all Ag species)

  • Decreasing Genetic Variability

  • Selection for  Single Traits

  • Dystocia

  • Transport


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General Concerns suffering in individual animals(all Ag species)

  • Decreasing Genetic Variability

  • Selection for  Single Traits

  • Dystocia

  • Transport

  • Slaughter

    Humane Slaughter Act (USDA enforced)

    Meat Institute’s Good Mgt Practices for Animal Handling & Stunning


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Humane Slaughter Act suffering in individual animals

~ Passed 1978, enforced by USDA

~ All animals must be dead or stunned before “painful practice”

~ # inspectors decreasing, USDA no longer tracks violations.


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Other concerns about the implementation of the Humane Slaughter Act:

  • PROCESSING SPEED

    (~ In US, remove hooves from 309/hour, or 5 animals a minute or 3 seconds a hoof).

    ~ Much slower in Europe (EU days)


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More guidelines from industry: Slaughter Act:

Meat Institute’s Good Management

Practices for Animal Handling and Stunning


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Improvements in Welfare Slaughter Act:

in Processing Plants

A la Temple Grandin and McDonald’s

(1999)


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Industry Wide Changes (Cattle) Slaughter Act:

1996 2002 2004

% Killed when first stunned



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Sheep Slaughter Act:

  • Most “natural” life, though protected from disease & predation (to an extent)

  • Most on pasture whole life, some lambs go to “finishing pens” for last month


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Sheep Welfare Concerns Slaughter Act:6.35 million head in 2003(56 mil in 1942)

  • Predation


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Sheep Welfare Concerns Slaughter Act:

  • Predation

  • Dystocia


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Sheep Welfare Concerns Slaughter Act:

  • Predation

  • Dystocia

  • Stress/ pain of vaccinating, tagging, docking & castration


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Fly Strike Slaughter Act:


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Sheep Welfare Concerns Slaughter Act:

  • Predation

  • Dystocia

  • Stress/ pain of vaccinating, tagging, docking & castration

  • Shearing?

  • Transport and slaughter


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Beef Cattle Slaughter Act:

  • Most of life on pasture (approx 1.5 years)

  • “Finished” in feedlots, high protein corn diet

  • 35 million breeding cows in U.S.

  • 1.3 billion in world


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Beef Cattle Welfare Concerns Slaughter Act:

  • Castration


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Beef Cattle Welfare Concerns Slaughter Act:

  • Castration

  • Transport & Slaughter


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Beef Cattle Welfare Concerns Slaughter Act:

  • Castration

  • Transport & Slaughter

  • Time in feed lot: odor, access to shade, food & additives


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Dairy Cattle Welfare Concerns Slaughter Act:9.4 million in U.S.

Dystocia

Mastitis


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Dairy Cattle Welfare Concerns Slaughter Act:

Dystocia

Mastitis

Housing

Veal calves (culled males)


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Dairy Cattle Welfare Concerns Slaughter Act:

Dystocia

Mastitis

Housing

Veal calves (culled males)

Female calves taken away

Tail Docking

Transport/slaughter when culled


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Docking increase cleanliness, Slaughter Act:udder health?

Tucker, Fraser and Weary 2001

~ 223 docked

~ 190 undocked

No treatment differences in cleanliness or health

Individuals differences significant

~


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Choice Experiment re Handling Slaughter Act:

Pajor, Rushen and Passille 2003

~ Choice in Y-maze between:

~ Shouting Handler

~ Cattle Prod

~ Tail twist

~ Pail Feeding

~ No difference between shout vs cattle prod; tail twist not aversive


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Poultry Welfare: Egg producers Slaughter Act:

  • Male chicks


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Poultry Welfare: Egg producers Slaughter Act:

Battery Cages

banned in EU by 2012

Stocking density = 5 hens/18” by 20”


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Poultry Welfare: Egg producers Slaughter Act:

  • Male chicks

  • Battery Cages

    • Cost of building vs. labor ($$$ in US)


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Average consumption per capita = 254 eggs/year (402/yr in 1945)~ 6.45 billion table eggs produced in 2004 ~ 64 companies with over 1 million layers each, 11 companies with over 5 million layers each~ Total of 283 million hens in 2004


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Behavioral Observations & Welfare 1945)

University of Guelph, Ian Duncan” 2006

~ How hard laying eggs “work” to

reach a nest box?

~ Asked to push against weighted door to get to nest box.

~ Use same force, for same duration

As if food deprived for 30 hours.


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Poultry Welfare: Broilers/ fryers 1945)23 million/year

  • Aggression/ debeaking

  • “Free range”

  • Selection for rapid growth - Satiety Center



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Broiler/fryers grow up to 22 wks “normal” growth in 5 weeks.

~ Chickens (and turkeys) found to have serious degenerative hip disorders.

~ When administered pain killing meds, turkeys lay down less, walked more, showed more spontaneous activity.

Hocking et al. 1999


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Consumer Choice Criteria weeks.

  • Cost

  • Taste (fatter is better)

  • Convenience

  • Nutrition/ “wholesomeness”

    Not ethics/ welfare…


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Environmental Plusses weeks.

Grazing Land is preserved

from development


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