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A welfare assessment scoring system for working equids - a method for identifying at risk populations and for monitoring progress of welfare enhancement strategies (trialed in Egypt)

By A. B. A. Ali, M. A. El-Sayed, M. Y. Matoock, M. A. Fouad, C. R. Heleski

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Abstract

There are an estimated 112 million horses, donkeys and mules (i.e., working equids) in developing regions of the world. Though their roles are often fundamental to the well-being of the families they work for, their welfare is often severely compromised due to the limited resources and/or limited knowledge base of owners. The main objective of this study was to develop a multifactorial welfare assessment score for accurate, comprehensive, quick and reliable assessment of these equids. A total of 5248 working equids ( n=2198 horses, 2640 donkeys, 410 mules) were assessed between February 2012-January 2014. Equids were divided into categories based on the three species involved, as well as the four work types involved (transporting goods or people by cart, ridden (e.g., in tourist locations), or working in brick kilns). Analysis of variance "ANOVA" was used to compare differences between groups with alpha set at 0.05. In terms of behavioral measures, the most at-risk equids appeared to be horses who pulled goods by cart with 20.7% showing a depressed attitude and 22.6% being unresponsive to an observer's approach (significantly greater than the other species and the other work types, P

Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 176
Pages 52-62
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
Language English
Author Address Animal Behavior and Welfare Group, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA.badora85@hotmail.com aliaba@msu.edu
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Tags
  1. Africa
  2. Analysis
  3. Animal behavior
  4. Animals
  5. Animal welfare
  6. Attitudes
  7. Developing countries
  8. Donkeys
  9. Egypt
  10. Family
  11. Horses
  12. Incidence
  13. Interventions
  14. Lesions
  15. Mammals
  16. Mediterranean region
  17. Methodologies
  18. Middle East
  19. monitoring
  20. mules
  21. peer-reviewed
  22. regions
  23. Techniques
  24. Tourism and travel
  25. ungulates
  26. vertebrates
Badges
  1. peer-reviewed