Biologisch antropoloog, Dr. in de Biologie Speerpunten: dierenwelzijn & gedrag Sleutelwoorden: gedragsbiologie, kennis ten dienste van de gemeenschap, welzijn wilde dieren in gevangenschap, grote grazers, slacht en welzijn En is ook: dol op de Ardeense bossen, paarden en bizons, coördinator van Salto, vrijwilliger in natuurbeheer
A shelter environment tends to present different types of stressors dogs need to cope with. Recent work has shown that olfactory enrichment with essential oils might be able to modify the affective states of certain species (dogs, cats, horses, zoo animals...). In these studies, the welfare measurements included physiological indicators, such as corticosteroid levels, and/or behaviors related to chronic stress. The olfactory effects of 9 essential oils (Cananga od- orata,Cistus ladaniferus, Citrus aurantium, Cupressus sempervirens, Juniperus communis var. montana, Lavandula an- gustifolia, Laurus nobilis, Litsea citrata, Pelargonium graveolens) and a blend of these oils were explored on a cognitive bias test, cortisol levels and the behaviors of 110 shelter dogs (n = 10 dogs within each group). Olfactory enrichment with the blend resulted in a reduced latency to the ambiguous cue, indicating a more optimistic bias and improved welfare. The results of this study suggest that olfactory enrichment with essential oils can have specific effects on the affective states and behaviors of shelter dogs, and could therefore be useful for shelter management. In addition, as not all of the essential oils tested individually were effective, more research should be conducted to better understand the effects of each individual essential oils on dogs.
A descriptive study of Bengal cat behaviour in Belgium and The Netherlands
The development of stereotypical behaviour in zoo animals is indicative of an environment in which the animals have unfulfilled behavioural needs and suboptimal welfare. Welfare researchers plead for zero tolerance and zoo visitors perceive stereotypical behaviour as problematic. Wide-ranging carnivores such as large cats are particularly sensitive to the development of locomotory stereotypical behaviour. We investigated the incidence of stereotypical behaviour of jaguars (Panthera onca), leopards (Panthera pardus), lions (Panthera leo), tigers (Panthera tigris) and cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) in four Belgian zoos (Olmen, Antwerp, Planckendael, Pairi Daiza). Management practices and enclosure characteristics were documented by observation and a questionnaire. Each enclosures was filmed twice during 20 minutes on four different days in a random order. Five of the 22 adult individuals showed stereotypical behaviour in four of twelve enclosures: a jaguar (54.11% of the observation time), an amour leopard (18.84%), two cheetahs (24.97 and 2.31%) and an African leopard (51.43%). In a cheetah enclosure the pacing animals visually fixated the neighbouring antelopes. The African leopard stereotyped along the border with an Eurasian lynx enclosure. On two occassions aggression of a lion and a tiger towards the visitors was observed. During most of the observations the animals were locked outdoors and could not freely choose to enter the indoor enclosures. At night, most cats including night active species such as tigers, leopard, lion and jaguar, were restricted to smaller indoor enclosures, where behavioural options are limited. Efforts should be maximalized to improve behavioural options for large cats.
Applied ethology and its relevance to zoo animal husbandry
Zoo enclosure designers should aim to offer behavioural opportunities that allow animals to enhance their quality of life. This can be achieved through a “behavioural engineering approach” in which artificial devices can be used, or through the “naturalistic approach” in which the wild environment is mimicked maximally. We hypothesized that the visitors’ perception of the animals’ happiness or wellbeing is influenced by enclosure design. In an online query, we showed pictures of natural versus unnatural looking enclosures for bonobos and we asked to score happiness on a 7-point scale, following an existing 4 item questionnaire, used to score subjective wellbeing in apes. A linear mixed model was applied with individual score as response value, respondent ID as random effect and enclosure type (natural or unnatural) as fixed effect. Respondents gave a significantly higher happiness score to more natural enclosures (df=1, p< /0.0001). In more natural enclosures, they thought the bonobos would experience positive emotions during a longer period (df=1; p< /0.0001), they gave a higher score to the degree in which they estimated the animals to be successful at fulfilling their needs (df=1; df=0.0001), and they thought they themselves would be happier if they were the animal during one week in that enclosure (df=1, p< /0.0001). For each of the four questions, all nine pairwise comparisons of natural versus unnatural enclosures showed that the differences were significant (df=200, p< /0.00001) for happiness score, duration of happiness, and happiness if the respondent would be the animal. Similarly, all pairwise comparisons differed significantly for ‘efficiency to fulfil their needs’, except for the comparison of the pictures of a natural but relatively empty grassy area and an unnatural indoor enclosure with climbing structures (df=200, p< /0.351), indicating a rough understanding of great apes’ climbing needs. Overall, people feel that naturalistic looking enclosures make bonobos happier. Whether their behavioural and psychological needs are met more efficiently in naturalistic enclosures needs to be assessed separately.
Behaviour of horses during hoof trimming: do they behave more calmly with adhesive tape on the nose?
The “duct tape twitch” – a piece of adhesive tape stuck on the vertical midline of the horses’ nose – is supposed to calm horses down during hoof trimming. The underlying mechanism is unknown. We tested the effect of this tape on 30 horses, with three farriers. For each horse, trimming of one forefoot and one hindfoot was observed with and without tape on the nose, in a randomized order. Relaxed and tensed behaviours were scored during five minutes per hoof for a total of 20 minutes per horse. In one horse the experiment was terminated due to dangerous behaviours. A mixed linear model was used to examine the relationship between relaxed and tensed behaviour and presence of tape. Besides horse identity, identity of farrier, sex (male - stallion or gelding - and female), judgment of owner about calmness of horse (calm, not calm), type of hoof manipulation (lifting, rasping, cutting, clipping), the model also included other factors possibly explaining part of the variance. Mares were more relaxed (p< /0.04), there was more relaxed behaviour during rasping compared to lifting, cutting and clipping (p< /0.0001) and the horses showed significantly more relaxed behaviour with tape on the nose (p< /0.0001). We saw more tensed behaviour in horses that were judged by the owner as “not calm” (p< /0.0001). The horses showed more tensed behaviours during foot lifting and when they had no tape on the nose (p< /0.0001). The increase in relaxed behaviours and decrease of tensed behaviours when there was tape on the nose was significant but small (p< /0.0001). Horse and farrier identity also affected tensed behaviours. The application of tape slightly calms down horses but its’ application or attempts hereto can in some cases cause dangerous reactions.
From theory to therapy room: a dog’s point of view
de Cartier d'Yves, Aymeline ; Moeyersons, Sam ; Vervaecke, Hilde ; Sannen, Adinda
Proceedings of the ISAE Benelux conference 2017; 2017
Dominance effects on grazing patterns in horses in nature reserves
Vervaecke, Hilde ; Miechielssens, Johan ; Van Uytvanck, Jan ; Hoffmann, Maurice
Nature reserve managers aim to evaluate the spatial position and presumed behavior of a group of introduced large herbivores by using telemetric data of one randomly selected individual. We hypothesized that dominance effects can cause variations in grazing patterns. A group of five Konik horses was observed during summer in a Belgian coastal dune reserve Westhoek-Zuid of 60 ha. All agonistic interactions were scored and the hierarchy was analyzed. For each horse 25 focals of 15 minutes were conducted to score behavior and position with 90 seconds intervals. The horses stayed predominantly in the dune-grassland (34,10 %), in woody areas (25,30 %), rough scrub areas (14,20 %) and in rough grassland vegetation (11,60 %). The horses foraged during 59,85 %, rested (standing and lying) during 36,80 % and moved only during 3,35 % of their time budget. The horses diet was composed for 87.73% of grasses, i.e. 66.90% long grasses (average count: 96, SD=39.35) and 33.10% short grasses (average count: 47.8, SD= 13.44). Short grasses were rarer but they were most preferred and were consumed more frequently by higher ranking horses (rank-short grass intake: rs=-0.98), whereas long grass was consumed more by low ranking horses (rank-long grass intake: rs= 0.94). This implies rank related monopolization of better quality grass when groups move in patchy landscapes. Often the poorer long-grassed vegetation types are targeted by nature managers, although these are least preferred by the animals. The choice of an adequate group size should be such that the low ranking animals are forced into eating the suboptimal vegetation, without harming their nutritional welfare. To evaluate the grazing behavior of a group of horses, the selection of both the lowest and highest ranking individual, will give a better view than the selection of a random animal.
Manipulation and slaughter of American bison (Bison bison) in European farms
Approximately 6000 American bison are bred on ranches in Europe for meat. Bison are wild non-domesticated animals that are kept extensively year-round but that require regular handling in order to comply with sanitary regulations. We surveyed the methods of manipulation and slaughter and the incidence of reported meat quality problems. The survey includes data on 18 ranches, in France (n=11), Belgium (n=3), Swiss (n=2), the UK (n=1) and Poland (n=1). On average each breeder has 72 adult bison (range= 21-182) and slaughters on average 16 bison per year (SD=10,47), 75% males and 25% females, at an average age of 30 months (20 – 42 months). All breeders have manipulation cages and corrals. Half of the breeders transports the bison dead after shooting and subsequent bleeding on the farm, either in the corral, in the field or in the trailer; the other half transports the animals life (average distance of 48 km) to the slaughterhouse, where they are either killed by firearm in the trailer or otherwise in the slaughter facilities. 53% of the breeders has their animals killed by fire-arm, 26% of the breeders has their animals killed by cutting after captive-bolt stunning and one fifth of the breeders (21%) has allowed for un-stunned cutting in the past. The latter is used in slaughterhouses where previous attempts to stun had been unsuccessful. Breeders that use a captive-bolt note that up to 40% of the animals needs re-stunning due to the thickness of the skull. There was no link between reported meat-quality and killing method. Some farmers developed very efficient stress-reducing practices for handling and killing bison. Bison on-farm killing by shooting is the most humane method with the highest instant success rate and no transport stress. Slaughterers and veterinarians need more information on effective stunning techniques for bison.
Effects of Olfactory Stimulation with Essential Oils in Animals: a Review