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
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
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.
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.
Effects of Olfactory Stimulation with Essential Oils in Animals: a Review
Proceedings of the 11th International Veterinary Behaviour Meeting; 2017
Studiedag Dieren in de gezondheidszorg
Welfare of dogs housed on concrete versus mesh floor with plastic coating in a commercial breeding facility
Van Impe, Isabelle ; Depauw, Sarah ; Vervaecke, Hilde
Proceedings of the ISAE Benelux conference; 2016
Welfare of dogs housed on concrete versus mesh floor with plastic coating in a commercial breeding facility Van Impe, Isabelle, Depauw Sarah, Vervaecke, Hilde Odisee University College, Agro-& Biotechnology, Animal Welfare and Behaviour, Sint-Niklaas, Belgium; email@example.com An important aspect of a dogs’ health and behavioural and affective wellbeing is determined by the choice of floor substrate. The Belgian law prescribes that the floor should not wound the feet, it should be flat, easy to keep dry and clean. A wooden floor is excluded and maximally half of the floor can consist of a mesh, only of a type that sufficiently supports the soles. We evaluated the effect of mesh floor with plastic coating versus concrete floors on the welfare of dogs in a commercial dog breeding facility. In 14 individually housed dogs, behavioural observations were carried out on concrete as well as on mesh floor, during four times 15 minutes, to score activity, positive and abnormal behaviours. The dogs had been housed several months on either of these floors. We found that they were significantly longer (p< /0.036) and more frequently active (p< /0.036) on concrete floor (paired-samples test), irrespective of the floor type they were previously habituated to. Similarly, the dogs showed longer resting behavior on the mesh floor (p< /0.039). Results with regard to positive and abnormal behaviours were less conclusive. We carried out a preference test offering a choice between concrete and mesh floor during one hour, for 17 individuals. The dogs spent significantly more time on the mesh floor, irrespective of their previous habituation to either floor type (p< /0.015, paired samples test). In a sample of 14 new dogs interdigital rubor, redness of insole cushions, or digital alopecia was often observed. However, their prevalence was not significantly different between floor types (chi-square, p< /0.690). The difficulty of interpreting the behavioural results with regard to welfare will be discussed. By combining the results with a thorough literature study and by comparing the international legislation, lessons were drawn to improve current legislation.
Guidelines for dog visits in hospital settings focusing on dog welfare
Sannen, Adinda ; De Cartier, Aymeline ; Vervaecke, Hilde
Proceedings of the ISAE Benelux conference 2016; 2016
Proximate mechanisms of control of locomotion in horses: corrective input in central pattern generators
Vervaecke, Hilde ; Roelant, Ella ; Nauwelaerts, Sandra ; Aerts, Peter
Proceedings of the 50th Conference of the International Society of Applied Ethology; 2016; pp. 352 - 352
On a proximate level, rhythmic motor patterns are controlled by central pattern generators (CPGs), neural networks that can endogenously (i.e. without sensory or central input) produce rhythmic patterned outputs. With the corrective input of sensory feedback, these motor patterns can be altered to deal with environmental information. We tested the extent to which horses show evidence of underlying CPG-activity and corrective central input when dealing with visual information on obstacles. Four different tests were performed in an arena on 40 sport horses. 1) When horses were halted after having stepped with the front legs over a short pole, and the pole was subsequently visibly pulled from under the horse, we saw that in 89% of the tests, they lifted the first moved hind foot, futilely. This illustrates that a CPG had started and unfolded till the end, without correction by central information on the sudden absence of the obstacle. A minority of the horses did not lift a hind foot, showing the effect of corrective central input. 2) When horses were halted with a short pole just in front of the front legs, with reduced vision by eyepatches to block their vision of the pole, we saw that in the majority of the tests they correctly lifted the front legs after 10 seconds (73%), 20 seconds (68%) and 30 seconds (74%). There was no difference in lifting between these time lengths (p=0.329). The centrally stored information that can regulate the start of a new CPG can span a time interval that is longer than the reputedly 8 seconds short term memory. 3) When horses were halted, after stepping over a short pole with the front legs, with reduced vision to block sight on the pole under their belly, we found that the horses correctly lifted the back legs after 10 seconds (71%), 20 seconds (76%) and 30 seconds (77%) and this time effect was not significant (p=0.356). The CPG that was started by the front legs easily lasted at least 30 seconds. 4) In another test-type, the horses were halted and a wooden pole was slowly but visibly shoved under the belly. The horse had to lift the hind leg in order to avoid the pole. In 85% of the tests, the horses did not lift the hind leg and touched the pole. Possibly, corrective input is more difficult when the motion starts with the hind legs. Simple tests can show how sensory information can modulate centrally generated endogenous patterns in horses. We also looked at the modulating effect of age, individual and sporttype. This information on the basic proximate regulation of locomotory behaviour can help to understand biological limitations of voluntary control of horse locomotion. Riders need to realize that horses may differ from humans in their ability to modulate every leg movement.
Bepaling van objectieve welzijnsindicatoren voor reptielen en amfibieën in gevangenschap
Sannen, Adinda ; Borgmans, Glenn ; Vermeulen, Elke ; Stevens, Jeroen ; Raoul, Van Damme ; Vervaecke, Hilde
American Bison (Bison bison) in farms: a survey of slaughter practices
Vervaecke, Hilde ; Aerts, Stef
University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine Cluj-Napoca
Prospects for the 3rd millennium agriculture; 2015; Vol. 2; pp. 586 -
Assessing the welfare of captive reptiles: A glimp into the diversity of stress-related behaviours
Sannen, Adinda ; Van Kogelenbergh, Kerstin ; Stevens, Jeroen ; Borgmans, Glenn ; Van Damme, Raoul ; Roelant, Ella ; Vervaecke, Hilde
Grouping and ingestive behaviour of Merino-sheep at high altitude
Vervaecke, Hilde ; Waumans, Sil ; Vicca, Jo
Mouth lesions in riding horses: associated bridle characteristics and management factors
Van Campenhout, Kim ; Roelant, Ella ; Vervaecke, Hilde
Nociception and pain perception in noble crayfish (Astacus astacus) using the novel object paradigm
Hendrycks, Wouter ; Abeel, Thomas ; Vermeersch, Xavier ; Roelant, Ella ; Vervaecke, Hilde
Working together to assess the welfare of captive reptiles and amphibians
Females are not competitive. Competition, conflicts and dominance are part of a man’s world, at least that was the view of Charles Darwin. Animal girlpower did not fit within the classical sexual competition theory. But anyone who looks around in his or her circle of friends, knows that “anomalous females” do exist. Slowly, surprising findings are accumulating on competitive females - albeit bonobos, bison, zebras or baboons – and the accompanying fitness benefits. This knowledge can help us to better understand what a woman’s life is all about. Hilde Vervaecke holds a PhD in behavioural biology. She studied sexual competition and dominance relationships in female bonobos and American bison. Now she is teaching and researching at the group of Agro- and Biotechnology at the University College KAHO in Sint-Niklaas.
Using a large touch screen to educate visitors
Sannen, Adinda ; Vervaecke, Hilde
A study of “abnormal” behaviour in zoo housed bonobos
Stevens, JMG ; Matthyssen, S ; De Groot, E ; Staes, N ; Vervaecke, Hilde
Proceedings of the 15th Annual BIAZA Research Symposium; 2013; pp. 16 - 16