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Validating the use of qualitative behavioral assessment as a measure of the welfare of sheep during transport

By S. L. Wickham, T. Collins, A. L. Barnes, D. W. Miller, D. T. Beatty, C. A. Stockman, D. Blache, F. Wemelsfelder, P. A. Fleming

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Abstract

We tested the application of qualitative behavioral assessment (QBA) as a welfare assessment tool. Sheep were exposed to road transport treatments, and behavioral expressions were compared between experimental treatments and validated by correlation with physiological measures. We compared journeys differing in ventilation (closed vs. open-sided trailer), flooring (grip vs. nongrip flooring), and driving styles (stop-start vs. continuous driving). Blood samples were collected immediately before loading and after unloading; heart rate and core body temperatures were recorded continuously. Continuous video footage was edited to show individual sheep to observers for QBA using free-choice profiling (observers used their own descriptive terms). There was significant consensus in observers' scores for the sheep in each experiment ( p

Publication Title Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
Volume 18
Issue 3
Pages 269-286
ISBN/ISSN 1088-8705
DOI 10.1080/10888705.2015.1005302
Language English
Author Address Veterinary & Life Sciences, Murdoch University, 90 South Street, Murdoch, Perth, WA 6150, Australia.t.fleming@murdoch.edu.au
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Tags
  1. Animals
  2. Animal transport
  3. Animal welfare
  4. Blood
  5. Bovidae
  6. Floors
  7. Heart
  8. Hematocrit
  9. Hormones
  10. Leukocytes
  11. Mammals
  12. peer-reviewed
  13. rate
  14. roads
  15. Ruminants
  16. Sheep
  17. ungulates
  18. ventilation
  19. vertebrates
Badges
  1. peer-reviewed