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 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
Van dijck, Luc ; Vicca, Jo ; Govaerts, Wim ; Vervaecke, Hilde ; Devreese, Johan ; Roelant, Ella
Management Techniek; 2017; Vol. 14; pp. 44 - 45
Studiedag Dieren in de gezondheidszorg
Sannen, Adinda ; de Cartier d'Yves, Aymeline ; De Mits, Sibbel ; Vos, Jeroen ; Vervaecke, Hilde
Teelt van Europese rivierkreeft (Astacus astacus) in recirculatiesystemen - De invloed van licht op zoötechnische prestaties en gedrag
Abeel, Thomas ; Adriaen, Jurgen ; Meeus, Wouter ; Platteaux, Inge ; Durinck, Guy ; Audenaert, Jan ; Van de Perre, Laurens ; Roelant, Ella ; Vervaecke, Hilde ; Aerts, Stef
Wereldwijd is er een toenemende interesse in de intensifiëring van “astacicultuur” - de teelt van rivier-kreeften. In onze contreien ontstond de laatste jaren interesse voor de intensieve teelt van Europese rivier-kreeft. Deze soort heeft een groot potentieel als lokaal aquacultuurproduct omwille van haar eenvoudige levenscyclus, hoge marktwaarde, lekkere smaak en het feit dat ze met laagwaardig voeder kan worden gekweekt. In Aqua-ERF onderzochten we in welke mate verschillende lichtomstandigheden in een intensief kweek-systeem de zoötechnische prestaties en het gedrag van deze dieren beïnvloeden. Het teelttechnisch on-derzoek gebeurde in een recirculatiesysteem, voorzien van computergestuurde TL-verlichting. Gedrags-observaties werden uitgevoerd met behulp van een aangepast plusdoolhof. Om ons toe te laten de verlich-ting accuraat af te stellen voor deze experimenten, werd een methode ontwikkeld om de lichtcondities onder water te meten. De rivierkreeften werden in een eerste experiment blootgesteld aan twee verlichtingssterktes (38 lux en 761 lux) en drie kleurtempteraturen (5500K, 3800K en 2600K).In een tweede experiment werden vijf foto-periodes uitgetest: uren licht:donker (L:D) 24:0, 8:16, 12:12, 16:8 en 0:24. Uit dit onderzoek bleek dat Euro-pese rivierkreeften het best groeien onder zwakke belichting (38 lux) en bij lange fotoperiodes (L:D 16:8 en 24:0). Onder deze omstandigheden vertonen ze ook de minste stressgerelateerde gedragingen. De kleur-temperatuur van wit licht (koud, neutraal of warm) heeft geen invloed op de groei of op het gedrag. De vervellingscyclus van Europese rivierkreeften wordt beïnvloed door de maanfasen. Daarbij doet het grootste aantal vervellingen zich voor rond nieuwe maan. In een derde experiment onderzochten we in welke mate we de vervelling kunnen sturen door de maancyclus te manipuleren. Het doel hiervan was te achterhalen of we de vervellingsfase meer konden synchroniseren. Daardoor zou het kannibalisme onder de rivierkreeften drastisch kunnen afnemen. Kannibalisme vindt immers hoofdzakelijk plaats tijdens het kwetsbare vervellingsstadium. In het experiment zagen we echter geen effect van de gesimuleerde maan-fasen op de vervellingssynchronisatie. Bijgevolg ziet het ernaar uit dat het manipuleren van de maancyclus niet kan worden gebruikt om de vervellingscyclus te synchroniseren. We kunnen concluderen dat vooral verlichtingssterkte en fotoperiode een belangrijke invloed hebben op de groei en het gedrag van rivierkreeften. Ons onderzoek toonde aan dat Europese rivierkreeften best presteren onder zwak licht en lange daglengte. Afgaand op de gedragsobservaties, blijken deze condities ook minder stressgeïnduceerd gedrag te veroorzaken. Deze resultaten geven een eerste indicatie van de vereiste lichtomstandigheden in de intensieve teelt van Europese rivierkreeft. Diepgaander onderzoek is echter aangewezen om de lichtomstandigheden verder te optimaliseren.
A pilot study about the role, knowledge and attitude of caregivers towards AAI in medical settings
De Mits, Sibbel ; Sannen, Adinda ; Vos, Jeroen ; de Cartier, Aymeline ; Vervaecke, Hilde ; Tency, Inge
Pratiques de manipulations de bisons autour de l'abattage
Een neus voor de natuur Over de mogelijkheden van speurhonden in het natuurbehoud
Thomaes, Arno ; Terpelle, Ianthe ; Van Cauteren, Dorien ; Van Krunkelsven, Ellen ; Vanhove, Willem ; Vervaecke, Hilde ; Van den Berge, Koen
Natuur.Focus; 2016; Vol. 15; iss. 4; pp. 166 - 170
Low-tech innovaties: honden speuren soorten op
Thomaes, Arno ; Terpelle, Ianthe ; Van Cauteren, Dorien ; Van Krunkelsven, Ellen ; Vanhove, Wim ; Vervaecke, Hilde ; Van den Berge, Koen
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.