Castration-Induced Vocalization in Domestic Piglets
Journal article abstract (same information
provided in the first link below):
"The surgical castration of male young piglets, Sus scrofa, is a routinely applied procedure in domestic pig production. The various handling and surgery procedures during the castration process evoke a considerable amount of vocalisation thought to be indicators of experienced pain and stress. We analysed complex and single measures of the vocalisation of 19 two-week-old male piglets during three different periods in the castration procedure: a presurgical handling period, the surgical period, and a postsurgical handling period."
"Piglets predominantly responded with high-frequency calls (>1000 Hz) at a maximum level ("all-or-none" strategy). These calls were reliably detected (96.6%) by an automatic stress call monitoring system (STREMODO) using vocal cues of sound production (e.g. formant-like structures) which are thought to be involved in "honest" signalling. Subsequent statistical discrimination analysis based on these vocal cues achieved the significantly best call assignment to the respective handling or surgical periods at the surgical part of the castration procedure (85.2%) meaning that the stress characteristic of the calls was most pronounced in this period. Except for the number of calls all other single vocal measures of the high-frequency vocalisation (call duration, peak frequency, pureness and entropy of the sound) were significantly affected by castration."
"The surgical period was significantly different from the postsurgical handling period in all these measures, but compared to the presurgical handling period it differed only in the pureness and the entropy of the sound. Taken together, the observed changes of acoustical parameters during the surgical period can be interpreted as vocal indicators for experienced pain and suffering. We conclude that a careful analysis of the vocal behaviour of animals may help to gain deeper knowledge of pain, stress and discomfort that an animal perceives. These results deliver further facts for a critical re-evaluation of the current practice of non-anaesthetised castration of piglets."
1. "Castration-Induced Vocalisation in Domestic Piglets, Sus scrofa: Complex and Specific Alterations of the Vocal Quality," Applied Animal Behaviour Science, vol 95, p 67, Nov-2005 (Abstract only)
2. Also see: "Welfare of the Neonatal Piglet," Pork Industry Institute, Texas Tech University, and National Pork Board, 2002
(ttu.edu - Texas Tech University)
Long-Term Health and Performance of Calves (From Cattle
Excerpts from Cattle Network article:
"Passive immunity is the transfer of the disease fighting antibodies (immunoglobulins) from mother to calf in the first milk called colostrum. Passive transfer is most efficient in the first 6 hours of life of the baby calf. Successful passive transfer is a result of a sufficient amount of quality colostrum being consumed early enough in the life of a baby calf. Failure of passive transfer can have severe short term and long term effects on cattle productivity."
"Drs. Louis Perino and Tom Wittum, while with the USDA experiment station at Clay Center, Nebraska monitored health events and growth performance in a population of range beef calves in order to identify associations of these factors with passive immune status. Blood samples were collected at 24 hours post-calving from 263 crossbreed calves to determine the amount of passive maternal immunity that had been obtained from colostrum. Growth performance and health events in the study population were monitored from birth to weaning, and after weaning throughout the feeding period."
"The lowest levels of passive immunity were observed
among calves that were sick or died prior to weaning.
Calves with 'inadequate' passive immunity had a 5.4
times greater risk of death prior to weaning, 6.4
times greater risk of being sick during the first
28 days of life, and 3.2 times greater risk of being
sick any time prior to weaning when compared to calves
with 'adequate' passive transfer. The risk of being
sick in the feedlot was also three times greater for
'inadequate' compared to 'adequate' calves."
"Long-Term Health and Performance of Calves," Cattle Network, 3/10/06
3. USDA Finds Kosher Slaughterhouse Violated Animal Cruelty
Excerpts from New York Times article:
"An internal report from the Agriculture Department
has found that one of the nation's leading kosher
slaughterhouses violated animal cruelty laws and that
government inspectors not only failed to stop the
inhumane practices but also took improper gifts of
meat from plant managers."
"Also, some of the plant's 10 inspectors made faulty
inspections of carcasses, failed to correct unsanitary
conditions and were seen sleeping and playing computer
games on the job, said the report, by the agency's
inspector general. It was provided to The New York
Times by the animal-rights group People for the Ethical
Treatment of Animals."
"Conditions at the plant -- AgriProcessors Inc. of
Postville, Iowa -- created a controversy in late 2004,
when PETA released a videotape taken clandestinely
inside. It showed that after steers were cut by a
ritual slaughterer, other workers pulled out the animals'
tracheas with a hook to speed bleeding. In the tape,
animals were shown staggering around the killing pen
with their windpipes dangling out, slamming their
heads against walls and soundlessly trying to bellow.
One animal took three minutes to stop moving."
"The scenes caused a furor among Jewish organizations around the world. Some accused PETA of promoting anti-Semitic libels that kosher slaughter is torture. But others were angry with AgriProcessors for violating the spirit of religious laws requiring that animals be killed without suffering."
"Inquiry Finds Lax Federal Inspections at Kosher Meat Plant," NY Times, 3/10/06
4. Farm Bureau Releases Publication on Future of U.S. Agriculture
Excerpts from Farm Bureau publication:
"Another change has been the growing concentration
of American agriculture. Half of the value of agricultural
output in the United States came from just 34,085
farms in 2002. At the same time, more than half of
all farms have annual sales of less than $10,000 and
generate just over 1 percent of the total value of
output for the sector. At the other end, operations
with sales in excess of $5 million account for 0.15
percent of all farms, but generate 24 percent of the
total value of agricultural output."
"There is significant divergence in the structure
of agricultural production today. Farms are becoming
either much larger or much smaller. There is a major
movement away from the 'middle' in agricultural production.
In 1987, the number of farms needed to produce the
middle 50 percent of the value of agricultural output
(or the difference in numbers between those needed
to produce 25 percent and 75 percent of the value
of agricultural output) was 270,243 farms. In 2002
that number was down to 139,957. Over the same period
of time, the total number of farms in the United States
as defined by USDA actually grew by 41,223 operations.
The size of operations producing the majority of agricultural
output in the country continues to grow. At the same
time the number of small farming operations, likely
those who do not consider farming their primary occupation,
continues to rise."
"Agriculture needs to take control of its own environmental
destiny. Farmers and ranchers are some of the best
environmental stewards in the world. But because of
a growing pile of regulations and legal challenges
many producers now view environmental and conservation
activists with understandable animosity. Farmers need
to be proactive in educating the public about their
contributions to habitat, water quality, reduction
of soil erosion and all the other enhancements they
provide. Producers need to change their relationships
with pragmatic, forward-looking conversation groups
from adversaries to allies and eventually to clients.
Many of these same groups have specific environmental
goals and services in mind. Producers need to actively
engage with these groups in providing those services
and in developing compensation plans to meet these
objectives while boosting farm income."
"Making American Agriculture Productive and Profitable (MAAPP)," Farm
5. Avian Influenza News Items (Headlines and Links)
1. "As H5N1 Keeps Spreading, a
Call to Release More Data," Science Magazine, 3/3/06
2. "Ready or Not, Bird Flu Is Coming to America,"
ABC News, 3/13/06
3. "Industry Caused the Flu; Why Blame Wild Birds?"
The Financial Express, 3/6/06
4. OP-ED: "The Price of Cheap Chicken," Los Angeles
6. BSE-Related News Items (Headlines and Links)
1. "Western Blot Test Finds BSE-Suspect
Cow Positive," Cow-Calf Weekly, 3/13/06
2. "Western Blot Test Confirms Alabama Beef Cow Positive
for BSE," Meatingplace.com, 3/13/06
3. "Statement by USDA Regarding Positive BSE Test
Results," USDA, 3/13/06