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Monitoring animal welfare (AW) in pig farms requires both proper indicators and a feasible approach. Animal-based measures (ABMs) are well-established AW indicators. Furthermore, AW screening at the slaughterhouses could be useful for identifying problems on farm. The aim of this study was to evaluate ABMs at the slaughterhouse and, when possible, to compare these ABMs with those collected on the farm. The study was carried out in northern Italy in a commercial abattoir and in a sample of farms. Animal-based measures were recorded on pigs from 62 batches of 54 farms, during ante-mortem (n=10 085 pigs) and post-mortem (n=7952 pigs) inspections. Sixteen of 54 farms were selected to compare ABMs collected at the slaughterhouse with ABMs collected on the farm. Overall, 2295 pigs (mean pigs examined per farm 119±45) were inspected at the slaughterhouse (group S) and 420 pigs (mean pigs per farm 26±5) on the farm (group F). Non-animal-based measures were also collected at the 16 farms. Differences between groups S and F, at the animal level, were assessed by a two-tailed paired Wilcoxon–Mann–Whitney test. Differences at the site of observation level (farm and slaughterhouse) were assessed by Fisher’s exact test using a hierarchical log-linear modelling for contingency tables. The most frequent ABMs at the slaughterhouse were manure on the body (47.7%), followed by dermatitis (28.0%), white spot (25.4%) and bursitis (24.7%). Recording ABMs at the slaughterhouse and on the farm usually yielded similar results; however, there were some exceptions. In particular, significant differences were found for non-uniformity of size (P<0.05) and dermatitis (P<0.001), which were higher at the slaughterhouse than on the farm. Results of log-linear modelling underlined the effect of the farm of origin on the percentage of pigs with bursitis, manure on the body and ear injuries that were observed at the slaughterhouse. In group S, significant associations between manure on the body and insufficient presence of clean and dry areas in the corresponding farm were found (P<0.05). Although these results should be interpreted with care due to the limited sample of farms, the slaughterhouse could be a feasible site of observation of ABMs, which could then be integrated in monitoring of AW on farm. Considering the number of slaughtered batches per farm, it would be possible to repeat assessments several times throughout the year for each farm, which could help provide an index for the continuous monitoring of AW.
We report the first evidence of fault rocks (FRs) developed during high-pressure/low-temperature (HP/LT) subduction-related metamorphism, within quartz+epidote pods embedded in the glaucophane–lawsonite-bearing ophiolitic metabasalts of the Diamante–Terranova unit (Calabria, Italy). FRs occur as relic injections appearing as thin dark seams, locally showing an internal foliation characterized by tabular, curvilinear and meander-like shapes, and consist of very fine grains of glaucophane and titanite, locally including survivor clasts of epidote and lawsonite. Some boudinaged veins show glaucophane fibres in the boudin necks, marking a clear HP/LT syn-metamorphic origin at c. 30 km depth. The injected FRs can be alternatively interpreted either as pseudotachylytes or as fluidized ultracataclasites. Although subsequent recrystallization largely obliterated primary diagnostic features, the occurrence of (i) different-coloured flow streaks, characterized by alternating layers of glaucophane and titanite, (ii) well-developed flow folds and (iii) corroded epidote survivor crystals could indicate a viscous flow of molten material characterized by a non-uniform chemical composition. With this in mind, we support the hypothesis that these fine-grained veins were originally pseudotachylytes generated by the frictional melting of the glaucophane-rich layers of the Diamante–Terranova metabasalts, likely related to seismic events occurring during the Eocene along thrust faults within the subducting oceanic Ligurian lithosphere. The lack of evidence for pseudotachylyte relics in the metabasalt source rock argues for a selective preservation, largely dependent on the efficient mechanical shielding action of the stiffer quartz+epidote pods.
The Great Plains is the most important wheat producing region in the United States. Dwindling returns and changes in government farm programs have reduced wheat acreage, raising concerns over its future viability. Small farms and marginal areas are particularly vulnerable, including the western Great Plains (WGP). To assess the technical and economic viability of wheat farms, the efficiency of 141 wheat farms in the WGP was estimated. Results found substantial inefficiency among all producer types. The largest source of inefficiency was input use among smaller farms. The smaller farms were the most scale efficient, reducing concerns over their future viability.
Empathy plays a central role in prosocial behavior and human cooperation. Very few twin researchers have investigated innate and environmental effects in adult empathy, and twin research on gender differences in these effects is sparse. The goal of this study was to examine innate and environmental influences on three components of an empathy scale frequently used with adults — the expression of cognitive (CE), emotional (EE), and social skills (SS) empathy — and to explore gender differences in the influences. Study participants were ~1,700 twins (18–65 years) enrolled in the Italian Twin Registry. Empathy was assessed with the Italian version of the Empathy Quotient (EQ), for which the three-factor structure (i.e., CE, EE, and SS) was confirmed. Twin correlations in monozygotic and dizygotic pairs, and males and females were estimated for the total EQ and subscale scores, and univariate genetic model fitting was carried out. Women's empathy (i.e., total EQ as well as CE and EE subdimensions) was predominantly driven by genetic factors and individual experiences, whereas for males, no genetic contribution or important shared and individual environmental effects emerged. Although of large magnitude, the gender differences did not reach statistical significance. Age did not moderate empathy heritability in adulthood. Only for the SS subscale were genetic and environmental proportions of variance similar for men and women. This study suggests possible gender-specific innate and environmental influences on empathy and its cognitive and emotional components that need to be confirmed in future studies.
We present a critical reanalysis of the black-hole binary coalescences detected during LIGO’s first observing run under different Bayesian prior assumptions. We summarize the main findings of Vitale et al. (2017) and show additional marginalized posterior distributions for some of the binaries’ intrinsic parameters.
These findings were presented at IAU Symposium 338, held on October 16-19, 2017 in Baton Rouge, LA, USA.
The High-Energy Particle Detector (HEPD) will measure electrons, protons and light nuclei fluxes, in low Earth orbit. This detector consists of a high precision silicon tracker, a versatile trigger system, a range-calorimeter and an anti-coincidence system. It is one of the instruments on board the China Seismo-Electromagnetic Satellite (CSES). HEPD can detect multi-MeV particles trapped within the geomagnetic field. When operated at large latitudes HEPD can also detect un-trapped solar particles and low energy cosmic rays. A detailed description of the HEPD will be given.
Feed restriction after weaning is widely used in meat rabbit farms to promote health and reduce mortality, but this practice impacts negatively on rabbit growth and slaughter performance. This study compared a 3-week post-weaning feed restriction with ad libitum medicated feeding, evaluating effects on feed intake, growth, health, carcass and meat quality of rabbits of two genotypes: Italian White pure breed and Hycole hybrid×Italian White crossbred. A total of 512 rabbits at 36 days of age, of both sexes and two genotypes, were divided into four homogeneous groups assigned, from 36 to 57 days of age, to different feeding programmes (FP): restricted non-medicated (R-N), ad libitum non-medicated (L-N), restricted medicated (R-M) and ad libitum medicated (L-M). The diets were medicated with oxytetracycline (1540 mg/kg) and colistin sulphate (240 mg/kg). The restriction, performed by giving 70, 80 and 90 g/day of feed for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd week, was followed by ad libitum feeding in the successive 5 weeks, up to slaughter at 92 days of age. Restricted feeds were ingested at a level of 64% of the feed intake recorded in the ad libitum fed rabbits; it was significantly associated, regardless of medication and rabbit genotype, with a lower feed intake (−22 to −24 g dry matter/day) during the entire experiment, compensatory growth and a lower feed conversion ratio in the ad libitum period, and a lower final live weight (−150 g) than ad libitum feeding (P<0.001). During restriction, mortality was lower in the restricted rabbits (6.25%, 5.47% v. 12.5%, 14.8% for R-N, R-M, L-N and L-M; P<0.05), whereas in the ad libitum period mortality did not differ among the groups (9.23%, 9.90%, 11.0% and 4.59% for R-N, R-M, L-N and L-M). Dressing out percentage was not affected by FP or genotype; heavier carcasses were produced by rabbits fed ad libitum (+100 g; P<0.001) and crossbred rabbits (+122 g; P<0.001). Restriction did not alter meat quality, except for a tendency towards a higher cooking loss and less fat; crossbred meat was higher in L* (+1.3; P<0.01) and b* (+0.51; P<0.05) colour indexes and tenderness (−0.14 kg/cm2; P<0.05) than pure breed meat. Under the conditions of this study, a 3-week restricted feeding after weaning resulted to be a suitable alternative, also for high growth potential genotypes, to the antibiotics to preserve rabbit health. The production of lighter carcasses could be compensated partly by the lower feed conversion ratio showed by restricted rabbits.
To reduce transmission of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) in an intensive care unit with interventions based on simulations by a developed mathematical model.
Before-after trial with a 44-week baseline period and 24-week intervention period.
Medical intensive care unit of a tertiary care teaching hospital.
All patients admitted to the unit.
We developed a model of transmission of CRE in an intensive care unit and measured all necessary parameters for the model input. Goals of compliance with hand hygiene and with isolation precautions were established on the basis of the simulations and an intervention was focused on reaching those metrics as goals. Weekly auditing and giving feedback were conducted.
The goals for compliance with hand hygiene and contact precautions were reached on the third week of the intervention period. During the baseline period, the calculated R0 was 11; the median prevalence of patients colonized by CRE in the unit was 33%, and 3 times it exceeded 50%. In the intervention period, the median prevalence of colonized CRE patients went to 21%, with a median weekly Rn of 0.42 (range, 0–2.1).
The simulations helped establish and achieve specific goals to control the high prevalence rates of CRE and reduce CRE transmission within the unit. The model was able to predict the observed outcomes. To our knowledge, this is the first study in infection control to measure most variables of a model in real life and to apply the model as a decision support tool for intervention.
Environmental and animal studies are rapidly growing areas of interest across a number of disciplines. Natures of Africa is one of the first edited volumes which encompasses transdisciplinary approaches to a number of cultural forms, including fiction, non-fiction, oral expression and digital media. The volume features new research from East Africa and Zimbabwe, as well as the ecocritical and eco-activist ‘powerhouses’ of Nigeria and South Africa. The chapters engage one another conceptually and epistemologically without an enforced consensus of approach. In their conversation with dominant ideas about nature and animals, they reveal unexpected insights into forms of cultural expression of local communities in Africa. The analyses explore different apprehensions of the connections between humans, animals and the environment, and suggest alternative ways of addressing the challenges facing the continent. These include the problems of global warming, desertification, floods, animal extinctions and environmental destruction attendant upon fossil fuel extraction. There are few books that show how nature in Africa is represented, celebrated, mourned or commoditised. Natures of Africa weaves together studies of narratives – from folklore, travel writing, novels and popular songs – with the insights of poetry and contemporary reflections of Africa on the worldwide web. The chapters test disciplinary and conceptual boundaries, highlighting the ways in which the environmental concerns of African communities cannot be disentangled from social, cultural and political questions. This volume draws on and will appeal to scholars and teachers of oral tradition and indigenous cultures, literature, religion, sociology and anthropology, environmental and animal studies, as well as media and digital cultures in an African context.
I begin by stating the obvious: those of us who read and write in universities, who research and publish, live lives shaped by modern cities. Whether we live in large cities, in towns of various sizes – or in landscapes that are truly rural – we exist within transportation, communication and resource-distribution networks that rely on an array of urban institutions and their sustaining technologies (though these networks may vary from region to region in how smoothly they operate). Moreover, we make sense of the world by drawing on cultures that bear the imprint of the thinking that humans have required if they are to negotiate and reproduce modern cities successfully. Just as importantly, the actuality of urban existence, its material processes, in addition to its cultures, have formed the subjectivity from which our thinking, moment by moment, emerges. Cities, in this sense, represent a normal and obvious fact of our lives, no matter how upsetting or disturbing we may find our particular urban places, which we negotiate as we earn a living, build personal relationships and seek what gratifies us.
The question motivating this chapter begins to address this complex actuality for us as disciplined readers of literature alert to global environmental concerns: how do we read in a way that acknowledges simultaneously our modern urban realities and the fact that failure to grasp human life in relation to natural worlds can lead to damaging consequences – for both humans and the life forms they encounter? This question becomes especially urgent in an era in which we, as a species, need both to adapt to – and, if possible, to mitigate – the effects of climate change. The question, so daunting to face, raises such a wide range of issues that this chapter can take only the smallest steps to address it. And, because ecocriticism with an urban focus has yet to develop, I am as much concerned with method as with conclusions.
As this chapter illustrates, I envision an ecocriticism that joins in multidisciplinary conversation about environmental futures, contributing literary studies’ special insights into language and its crafting.
Sulla (Sulla coronarium L.) forage is valued for its positive impact on ruminant production, in part due to its moderate content of condensed tannin (CT). The duration of daily grazing is a factor affecting the feed intake and milk production of ewes. In this study, the effects of grazing sulla pasture compared with annual ryegrass, and the extension of grazing from 8 to 22 h/day, were evaluated with regard to ewe forage intake and milk production, as well as the physicochemical properties and fatty acid (FA) composition of cheese. During 42 days in the spring, 28 ewes of the Comisana breed were divided into four groups (S8, S22, R8 and R22) that grazed sulla (S) or ryegrass (R) for 8 (0800 to 1600 h) or 22 h/day, and received no feeding supplement. In six cheese-making sessions, cheeses were manufactured from the 48 h bulk milk of each group. Compared with ewes grazing ryegrass, those grazing sulla had higher dry matter (DM) intake, intake rate and milk yield, and produced milk that was lower in fat and higher in casein. Ewes grazing for 22 h spent more time eating, which reduced the intake rate, increased DM and nutrient intake and milk yield, and reduced milk fat. Due to the ability of CT to inhibit the complete ruminal biohydrogenation of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), the FA composition of sulla cheese was more beneficial for consumer health compared with ryegrass cheese, having lower levels of saturated fatty acids and higher levels of PUFA and n-3 FA. The FA profile of S8 cheese was better than that of S22 cheese, as it was higher in branched-chain FA, monounsaturated FA, PUFA, rumenic acid (c9,t11-C18:2), and had a greater health-promoting index. The effect of short grazing time on sulla was attributed to major inhibition of PUFA biohydrogenating ruminal bacteria, presumably stimulated by the higher accumulation of sulla CT in the rumen, which is related to a higher intake rate over a shorter eating time. Thus, grazing sulla improved the performance of ewes, thereby increasing, especially with short grazing time, the nutritional properties of cheese fat.