the welfare of animals in various production systems and making
ethical evaluations of which is most appropriate continues to
be a priority issue affecting many levels of animal agriculture.
We have developed a model to increase education of animal welfare
issues, while aligning ourselves with a traditional curriculum
feature within animal science departments; i.e. judging teams.
We proposed one year ago that developing teams to educate young
people about farm animal welfare then establishing competitions
to assess their skill level would be one way to integrate welfare
science into the mainstream of animal science curricula. Three
other universities opted to join Michigan State in this pilot
endeavor: Purdue University, University of Guelph and University
of Wisconsin. Each team is being coached in the basics of understanding
farm animals evolutionary biology, their biological needs,
indicators of differing levels of welfare and how to holistically
evaluate different facilities, stockmanship and management.
Based on pedagogical principles, the concept of integrating
learning with competition is known to enhance learning and retention.
Students are currently preparing for a competition, March 1,
competition will use CD-ROMs with indicators of animal
welfare ranging from physiological data, video and still clips,
to behavioral responses and time budgets. Students will evaluate
two scenarios for each species being judged, prepare their analysis,
then make an oral presentation. The knowledge of welfare science,
the integration of multiple measures and the persuasion of the
oral presentation will be key in scoring the students.
Preliminary observations indicate that preparing the students
for this competition has increased their knowledge base and
has enhanced networking with university farm managers. It should
be noted that while the assessment of various aspects of animal
welfare can be objective and quantifiable, judgment decisions
of what threshold level on the continuum between poor and good
welfare is acceptable still come down to ethically examined
Keywords: Animal welfare; Welfare assessment; Judging teams
of housing on weanling horse behavior and subsequent
C.R. Heleski*, A.C. Shelle, B.D. Nielsen,
Michigan State University, Animal Science Department,
Anthony Hall, East Lansing, MI 48824, USAAbstract
foals marks a stressful event in horses lives. Limited
research exists regarding different housing methods post-weaning
and the long-term implications on horse behavior and welfare.
The purpose of this study was to monitor behavior and
physiological stress markers in horses weaned individually
in solid partition box stalls versus horses weaned in
small groups and housed in paddocks. Both treatments underwent
maternal deprivation stress, but the stalled weanlings
had the additive effects of social isolation which prevented
them from performing social behaviors.
Quarter Horse weanlings from the MSU Merillat Equine Center,
average age 4.5 mo, were weaned in 13.4 m2 box stalls
(n=6) or in groups of three in a 992 m2 paddock, which
had very limited grazing forage and an open shelter available
(n=6). Subjects were fed concentrate and hay to National
Research Council recommendations. A time budget for 31
observed behaviors was developed. Behavioral observations
were made 2 d/wk, approximately 6 h/d, for the duration
of the 56 d study. Instantaneous samples were recorded
every five minutes on each observation day, with equal
division between the two treatment groups (n=35 scans/horse/observation
day). Focal data was recorded continuously between scans
to provide a more detailed ethogram where needed. On each
observation day, fecal samples were collected for a noninvasive
measure of 11,17-dioxoandrostanes, an indicator of glucocorticoid
Regarding the fecal 11,17-dioxoandrostanes, there was
no discernible treatment difference either immediately
post-weaning or at the conclusion of the 56 d study. Interestingly,
all 12 weanlings showed a four week post-weaning increase
in 11,17-dioxoandrostanes. The reason for this peak was
Behavioral observations demonstrated a significantly different
time budget in paddock-reared weanlings than in stall-reared
weanlings (P<.0001). Paddock-reared weanlings displayed
a time budget more like a feral horse time budget, showing
more time spent moving and less time spent lying down.
Paddock-reared weanlings, who had the option of selectively
engaging in a broader range of behaviors, showed strong
motivation to graze and be near conspecifics.
weanlings spent significantly more time engaged in aberrant
behaviors: licking or chewing the stall/shed wall, kicking
at the stall/shed wall, pawing, and bucking/rearing bouts
(P<.03). Based on the variety of normal behaviors shown,
the ability to engage in strongly preferred behaviors,
and freedom from aberrant behavior, we conclude that the
paddock-reared, group-housed weanlings had better welfare.
However, there was insufficient evidence to conclude that
the stalled weanlings had poor welfare.
Time Budget emphasis presented at 16th Equine Nutrition
& Physiology meetings, 1999, North Carolina.
Welfare Assessment emphasis presented at International
Society for Applied Ethology, 1999, Norway.
Utilizing Continuous Recording vs. Instantaneous Recording
presented at regional ISAE, 2000, Guelph.
Current article submitted and has been accepted by Applied
Animal Behavior Science.
for Senior Thesis, 1999
A Non-Invasive Method to Monitor Stress Hormones
In Large Cats
purpose of this study was to develop a non-invasive
protocol for monitoring stress hormones in feces
from large cats. Three snow leopards (Panthera
uncia) from Potter Park Zoo in Lansing, Michigan,
an adult female and her two cubs were studied.
twenty-four hour maternal separation involving
the female and two cubs took place during the
study to determine if there was a difference in
fecal adrenal steroids due to the separation.
Fecal samples were collected daily, seven days
prior to separation, during and seven days post
fecal samples were analyzed using High Performance
Liquid Chromatography (HPLC). Maternal separation
caused an increase in aldosterone and cortisol
concentrations in both the cubs and the female.
The cubs mean cortisol concentration prior to
separation was .0026 micrograms/mg of feces. A
four fold increase was observed for both steroids
during the end of the twenty-four hour separation.
The adult females cortisol concentrations
followed the same pattern. For both groups
cortisol and aldosterone concentrati0ns followed
a similar pattern except for the end of the study.
This indicates that fecal cortisol and aldosterone
increases when an animal is under stress and this
technique can be used to monitor stress in snow