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Livestock production has increased in many emerging economies, but productivity is often substantially impaired by infectious diseases. The first step towards improved livestock health and productivity is to map the presence of livestock diseases. The objective of this review was to summarize studies conducted on such diseases in an emerging economy, Vietnam, and thereby identifying knowledge gaps that may inform the design of surveillance and control programs. Few studies were found to evaluate the distribution of infectious livestock diseases other than avian influenza. Also, many regions with dense livestock populations had received little attention in terms of disease investigation. A large proportion of the studies dealt with zoonoses and food-borne infections which might be due to funding agencies priorities. On the contrary, studies targeting infections that affect livestock and their productivity were few. We think that this limitation in scientific reports on infectious diseases that only affect livestock productivity is a common phenomenon in low and lower middle income countries. More science-based data on such diseases would help policymakers to prioritize which livestock diseases should be subject to animal health programs aimed to support rural livelihoods and economic development.
Maternal nutrition is critical in mammalian development, influencing the epigenetic reprogramming of gametes, embryos, and fetal programming. We evaluated the effects of different levels of sulfur (S) and cobalt (Co) in the maternal diet throughout the pre- and periconceptional periods on the biochemical and reproductive parameters of the donors and the DNA methylome of the progeny in Bos indicus cattle. The low-S/Co group differed from the control with respect to homocysteine, folic acid, B12, insulin growth factor 1, and glucose. The oocyte yield was lower in heifers from the low S/Co group than that in the control heifers. Embryos from the low-S/Co group exhibited 2320 differentially methylated regions (DMRs) across the genome compared with the control embryos. We also characterized candidate DMRs linked to the DNMT1 and DNMT3B genes in the blood and sperm cells of the adult progeny. A DMR located in DNMT1 that was identified in embryos remained differentially methylated in the sperm of the progeny from the low-S/Co group. Therefore, we associated changes in specific compounds in the maternal diet with DNA methylation modifications in the progeny. Our results help to elucidate the impact of maternal nutrition on epigenetic reprogramming in livestock, opening new avenues of research to study the effect of disturbed epigenetic patterns in early life on health and fertility in adulthood. Considering that cattle are physiologically similar to humans with respect to gestational length, our study may serve as a model for studies related to the developmental origin of health and disease in humans.
The present paper aims to contribute to the contentious debate regarding the role of meat as part of a sustainable diet. It uses secondary data to examine the patterns of meat consumption across the globe, and drawing on academic and grey literature, it outlines some of the policy, market and social trends and issues influencing demand and supply of meat. It also presents an overview of the scientific evidence base regarding the pros and cons of meat consumption. The results show that consumption patterns are not homogeneous globally, nor across meat types, with overall meat consumption increasing strongly in developing countries but stagnating in developed countries, and demand for poultry increasing in most regions in contrast to beef. They also illustrate the evolving impact of factors such as income on consumption and the increasing impact of non-economic factors, such as social and policy influences relating to health and the environment, on food choice behaviours, to the extent that such behaviours are increasingly entering a moral space. Given the solid scientific evidence that simultaneously substantiates arguments to increase and decrease meat consumption, it is clear that dietary recommendations need to be context-specific. An important part of the context is the strategies being pursued by researchers and supply chain actors, from farmers through to processors, retailers and food service operators, to improve the sustainability credentials of livestock production. As new evidence emerges from such initiatives, the context will change which means that dietary guidelines will require continuous review.
Pigs have played a central role in the subsistence and culture of China for millennia. The close relationship between pigs and people began when humans gradually domesticated wild pigs over 8,000 years ago. While pigs initially foraged around settlements, population growth led people to pen their pigs, which made them household trash processors and fertilizer producers. Household pigs were in daily contact with people, who bred them to fatten quickly and produce larger litters. Early modern Europeans found Chinese pigs far superior to their own and bred the two to create the breeds now employed in industrial pork production around the world, including China. In recent decades, industrial farms that scientifically control every aspect of pigs’ lives have spread rapidly. Until recently, most Chinese people ate pork only on special occasions; their ability in recent decades to eat it regularly exemplifies China's increasing prosperity. Meanwhile, vast areas of North and South American farmland are now devoted to growing soybeans to feed hundreds of millions of pigs in China, and the methane, manure, and antibiotic resistance they produce creates environmental and health problems on a global scale.
While the role of coal has been the subject of long-running debate in the historiography of the Industrial Revolution, its part in the economic development of the global periphery has been comparatively neglected. The technological context of the ‘First Globalization’ (c.1870–1914) made pastoral production in the periphery increasingly dependent on modern energy, as new methods of production and transportation bridged the distance between grasslands in the south of the world and kitchens in the north. By comparing choices of meat preservation techniques in Uruguay and New Zealand – two small settler economies that prospered on the back of pastoral exports – this article highlights the usefulness of an energy perspective on agriculture-based transitions to modern economic growth. Different conditions of access to coal shaped how New Zealanders and Uruguayans exploited their livestock herds when terms of trade favoured them the most, with important consequences for the persisting income gap between them.
Yushu Prefecture in Qinghai Province provides some of the largest known stretches of habitat for the Vulnerable snow leopard Panthera uncia in China. People living in these areas are dependent on agropastoralism. Support from local communities is necessary for effective long-term conservation action for snow leopards, but loss of livestock to snow leopards can create financial burdens that induce negative attitudes and encourage retaliatory killing. We assessed factors driving herders' attitudes towards snow leopards and their conservation. We found that herders had higher agreement with positive than with negative statements about snow leopards despite nearly half reporting livestock loss to snow leopards within the last 5 years. No retaliatory killing was reported. Herders with more years of formal education and fewer livestock losses were more likely to have positive attitudes whereas those with lower importance of snow leopards to their religion, fewer livestock losses, and fewer years of education were more likely to have negative attitudes. Understanding the multifaceted mechanisms responsible for positive views towards species is imperative for reaching conservation goals. Our findings ascribe to the importance of increased education and adherence to Tibetan beliefs in promoting conservation tolerance towards snow leopards in Qinghai Province, but also indicate a need for further research into the impact of livestock loss.
Bacteriophages are the most abundant form of life on earth and are present everywhere. The total number of bacteriophages has been estimated to be 1032 virions. The main division of bacteriophages is based on the type of nucleic acid (DNA or RNA) and on the structure of the capsid. Due to the significant increase in the number of multi-drug-resistant bacteria, bacteriophages could be a useful tool as an alternative to antibiotics in experimental therapies to prevent and to control bacterial infections in people and animals. The aim of this review was to discuss the history of phage therapy as a replacement for antibiotics, in response to EU regulations prohibiting the use of antibiotics in livestock, and to present current examples and results of experimental phage treatments in comparison to antibiotics. The use of bacteriophages to control human infections has had a high success rate, especially in mixed infections caused mainly by Staphylococcus, Pseudomonas, Enterobacter, and Enterococcus. Bacteriophages have also proven to be an effective tool in experimental treatments for combating diseases in livestock.
Heat stress is a global issue constraining pig productivity, and it is likely to intensify under future climate change. Technological advances in earth observation have made tools available that enable identification and mapping livestock species that are at risk of exposure to heat stress due to climate change. Here, we present a methodology to map the current and likely future heat stress risk in pigs using R software by combining the effects of temperature and relative humidity. We applied the method to growing-finishing pigs in Uganda. We mapped monthly heat stress risk and quantified the number of pigs exposed to heat stress using 18 global circulation models and projected impacts in the 2050s. Results show that more than 800 000 pigs in Uganda will be affected by heat stress in the future. The results can feed into evidence-based policy, planning and targeted resource allocation in the livestock sector.
The parasitic species of the Echinococcus granulosus sensu lato (sl) complex are the causative agents of cystic echinococcosis in humans. The lifecycle of E. granulosus sl is essentially domestic, and is based on the consumption by dogs of hydatid cysts in viscera of livestock species. The aim of this study was to survey E. granulosus sensu lato in livestock in France. A 1-year national survey of E. granulosus sl in livestock at the slaughterhouse was organized in 2012 in France, with systematic molecular confirmation. The prevalence of E. granulosus ss nationally was 0.002% in sheep, mainly focused in the Alpine area, and 0.001% in cattle, with the distribution of cases throughout the country. Echinococcus canadensis G6/7 was observed only in Corsica in pigs, with a prevalence of nearly 1% in the island. A national prevalence of 0.0002% was estimated for E. ortleppi in cattle, due to seven cases distributed in two foci. The results of this survey are of particular interest because of the zoonotic risk associated with the presence of these parasite species, for which systematic control at the slaughterhouse should enable their elimination.
Cystic echinococcosis (CE) is a zoonotic disease of cosmopolitan distribution and caused by the larval stage of the dog tapeworm, Echinococcus granulosus sensu lato (s.l.). CE occurs in the wider African continent and in Kenya, notably in the Maasailand and Turkana regions; however, recent studies demonstrate its presence in other parts of Kenya. This study determined the occurrence of CE in livestock (camels, goats, sheep and cattle) in Isiolo, Garissa and Wajir counties, and characterized the species of E. granulosus s.l. present. An abattoir survey was used to determine the presence of CE in various organs in livestock. Polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism and sequencing of the mitochondrial NADH dehydrogenase subunit 1 gene was used for genotyping. A total of 1368 carcasses from 687 goats, 234 camels, 329 sheep and 118 cattle were inspected for the presence of hydatid cysts. The overall proportion of infections was 29.1% in camels, 14.4% in cattle, 9.9% in goats and 8.2% in sheep. The liver was the most infected organ, while only the lung of camels harboured fertile cysts. Of the 139 cysts genotyped, 111 (79.9%) belonged to Echinococcus canadensis (G6/7) and 20 (14.4%) to E. granulosus sensu stricto. One and two cysts were identified as Taenia saginata and unknown Taenia species, respectively. There was a significant association between county of origin and species of the animal with occurrence of CE. This study reports, for the first time, the characterization of Echinococcus species in livestock from Garissa and Wajir counties, and the current situation in Isiolo county. The fertility of cysts in camels and frequency of E. canadensis (G6/7) in all livestock species indicate that camels play an important role in the maintenance of CE in the north-eastern counties of Kenya.
Cystic echinococcosis (CE) is caused by the larval form of Echinococcus granulosus that can cause serious health and economic problems in the endemic foci. CE is globally distributed in various climatic conditions from circumpolar to tropical latitudes. Iran is an important endemic area with a spectrum of weather conditions. The aim of this study was to determine the effects of geo-climatic factors on the distribution of livestock CE in south-western Iran (SWI) in 2016 to 2018. Data of livestock CE were retrieved from veterinary organizations of four provinces of SWI. The geo-climatic factors, including mean annual temperature (MAT), minimum MAT (MinMAT), maximum MAT (MaxMAT), mean annual rainfall (MAR), elevation, mean annual evaporation (MAE), sunny hours, wind speed, mean annual humidity (MAH), slope, frost days and land cover, were analysed using geographical information systems (GIS) approaches. The statistical analysis showed that MAR, frost days, elevation, slope and semi-condensed forest land cover were positively and MAE, MAT, MaxMAT, MinMAT and salt and salinity land cover were negatively correlated with CE occurrence. MAE was shown to be a predictive factor in the stepwise linear logistic regression model. In short, the current GIS-based study found that areas with lower evaporation were the main CE risk zones, though those with lower temperature and higher rainfall, altitude and slope, especially where covered with or in close proximity of semi-condensed forest, should be prioritized for consideration by health professionals and veterinarians for conducting control programmes in SWI.
Cysticercus tenuicollis as metacestode of Taenia hydatigena is the most prevalent taeniid species in livestock. Eighty-eight C. tenuicollis samples were collected from sheep (n = 44) and goats (n = 44) of the northern Iran from 2015 to 2016. The isolated parasites were characterized by morphometric keys. The DNA of the larval stage was extracted, amplified and sequenced targeting mitochondrial 12S rRNA and Cox 1 markers. A significant difference in larval rostellar hook length was observed in 12S rRNA haplotypes. Analysis of molecular variance of 12S rRNA indicated a moderate genetic diversity in the C. tenuicollis isolates. The pairwise sequence distance of C. tenuicollis showed an intra-species diversity of 0.3–0.5% and identity of 99.5–100%. Using the 12S rRNA sequence data we found a moderate genetic difference (Fst; 0.05421) in C. tenucollis isolates collected from livestock of the northern and southeastern regions of Iran. We concluded that the genetic variants of C. tenuicollis are being undoubtedly distributing mostly in different parts of Iran. Further studies with a larger number of T. hydatigena isolates collected from various intermediate and definitive hosts are needed to study this evolutionary assumption and also to determine the apparent genetic differences observed in the studied regions.
The diversity and importance of Echinococcus species in domesticated animals in Kazakhstan are poorly understood. In this study, 17 cysts of Echinococcus were collected from cattle and a further 17 cysts from sheep. DNA was extracted from the individual cysts and used for polymerase chain reaction amplification of mitochondrial subunit 1 of the cox1 and nadh1 gene. Amplicon sequencing results revealed the presence of Echinococcus granulosus sensu stricto G1 in 15 cattle and 15 sheep, and G3 genotype from two cattle. Echinococcus canadensis (G6/G7 strain) was found in two cysts originating from sheep.
Feed withdrawal (FW) is a frequent issue in open outdoor feedlot systems, where unexpected circumstances can limit the animals’ access to food. The relationship among fasting period, animal behaviour during feed reintroduction (FR) and acidosis occurrence has not been completely elucidated. Twenty steers fitted with rumen catheters were fed a high-concentrate diet (concentrate : forage ratio 85 : 15) and were challenged by a protocol of FW followed by FR. The animals were randomly assigned to one of the four treatments: FW for 12 h (T12), 24 h (T24), 36 h (T36) or no FW (control group) followed by FR. The steers’ behaviour, ruminal chemistry, structure of the ruminal microbial community, blood enzymes and metabolites and ruminal acidosis status were assessed. Animal behaviour was affected by the FW–FR challenge ( P < 0.05). Steers from the T12, T24 and T36 treatments showed a higher ingestion rate and a lower frequency of rumination. Although all animals were suspected to have sub-acute ruminal acidosis (SARA) prior to treatment, a severe case of transient SARA arose after FR in the T12, T24 and T36 groups. The ruminal pH remained below the threshold adopted for SARA diagnosis ( pH value = 5.6) for more than three consecutive hours (24, 7 and 19 h in the T12, T24 and T36 treatments, respectively). The FW–FR challenge did not induce clinical acute ruminal acidosis even though steers from the T36 treatment presented ruminal pH values that were consistent with this metabolic disorder (pH threshold for acute acidosis = 5.2). Total mixed ration reintroduction after the withdrawal period reactivated ruminal fermentation as reflected by changes in the fermentation end-products. Ruminal lactic acid accumulation in steers from the T24 and T36 treatments probably led to the reduction of pH in these groups. Both the FW and the FR phases may have altered the structure of the ruminal microbiota community. Whereas fibrolytic bacterial groups decreased relative abundance in the restricted animals, both lactic acid producer and utiliser bacterial groups increased ( P < 0.05). The results demonstrated a synchronisation between Streptococcus (lactate producer) and Megasphaera (lactate utiliser), as the relative abundance of both groups increased, suggesting that bacterial resilience may be central for preventing the onset of metabolic disturbances such as ruminal acidosis. A long-FW period (36 h) produced rumen pH reductions well below and lactic acid concentration increased well above the accepted thresholds for acute acidosis without any perceptible clinical signs.
Sheep blowfly strike (ovine cutaneous myiasis) is a widespread economic and welfare problem in sheep husbandry in many parts of the world. Strike incidence is determined by a complex interaction of fly abundance, host susceptibility and climate, combined with farmer husbandry and intervention strategies. Sheep farmers adopt a range of approaches to the type and timing of the management used for the control of blowfly strike, the rational basis for which is often not robust. Here a deterministic model, based on existing data relating to fly abundance, seasonal risk and strike incidence, is used to compare the variable costs associated with different strike management strategies. The model shows that not employing prophylactic treatment is the lowest cost strategy only where strike risk is low. In all other circumstances, prophylactic treatment incurs lower costs than not doing so, because the deaths associated with strike outweigh the costs of prophylactic treatment. Lamb treatment, in particular, has a substantial effect on strike and cost reduction, since lambs are the most abundant age-class of animals and are at the highest risk over the period when fly abundance is the greatest. Early-season treatment of ewes before shearing is also an important component of the lowest cost strategies, particularly when the blowfly season is extended. While the rational choice of the most appropriate strike management strategy is essential in the context of farm economics, welfare considerations lend added importance to treatment decisions that reduce strike incidence.
Chemical oocyte enucleation holds the potential to ease somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), although high enucleation rates remain limited to micromanipulation-based approaches. Therefore, this study aimed to test mitomycin C (MMC) for use in bovine functional chemical oocyte enucleation. Incubation of denuded eggs in 10 µg ml−1 MMC for different periods did not affect most maturation rates (0.5 h: 85.78%A, 1.0 h: 72.77%B, 1.5 h: 83.87%A, and 2.0 h: 82.05%A) in comparison with non-treated controls (CTL; 85.77%A). Parthenogenetic development arrest by MMC was efficient at cleavage (CTL: 72.93%A, 0.5 h: 64.92%A,B, 1.0 h: 60.39%B,C, 1.5 h: 66.35%A,B, and 2.0 h: 53.84%C) and blastocyst stages (CTL: 33.94%A, 0.5 h: 7.58%B, 1.0 h: 2.47%C, 1.5 h: 0.46%C, and 2.0 h: 0.51%C). Blastocysts were obtained after nuclear transfer (NT) using MMC enucleation [NT(MMC): 4.54%B] but at lower rates than for the SCNT control [NT(CTL): 26.31%A]. The removal of the meiotic spindle after MMC incubation fully restored SCNT blastocyst development [NT(MMC+SR): 24.74%A]. Early pregnancies were obtained by the transfer of NT(MMC) and NT(MMC+SR) blastocysts to synchronized recipients. In conclusion, MMC leads to functional chemical oocyte enucleation during SCNT and further suggests its potential for application towards technical improvements.
Carnivore conservation depends on people's willingness to implement management practices to reduce threats to carnivores and mitigate conflicts between carnivores and domestic animals. We assessed the willingness of rural communities in central-southern Chile to (1) conserve carnivores, and (2) adopt management practices to reduce predation of domestic animals, a key factor triggering carnivore–human conflicts in rural areas. The study focused on five carnivores: the chilla Lycalopex griseus, the culpeo Lycalopex culpaeus, Darwin's fox Lycalopex fulvipes, the guiña or kodkod Leopardus guigna, and the puma Puma concolor. We found that rural communities perceived that threats towards carnivores rarely occurr in their region, contrary to the literature on this subject; people's attitudes differed depending on the carnivore; and people were willing to adopt management practices to help conserve carnivores (e.g. overnight protection of domestic animals and investment in infrastructure for henhouses and cowsheds), except leashing dogs. The willingness to conserve carnivores and adopt practices that would help do so may be associated with how these measures affect people's well-being. Although rural communities would like carnivores to be conserved, this cannot be achieved unless some pivotal practices, such as management of domestic dogs, are adopted by these communities. For successful biodiversity conservation outcomes in human-dominated landscapes, the social incentives necessary for rural communities to adopt appropriate management practices must be identified and implemented.
Predicting breed-specific environmental suitability has been problematic in livestock production. Native breeds have low productivity but are thought to be more robust to perform under local conditions than exotic breeds. Attempts to introduce genetically improved exotic breeds are generally unsuccessful, mainly due to the antagonistic environmental conditions. Knowledge of the environmental conditions that are shaping the breed would be needed to determine its suitability to different locations. Here, we present a methodology to predict the suitability of breeds for different agro-ecological zones using Geographic Information Systems tools and predictive habitat distribution models. This methodology was tested on the current distribution of two introduced chicken breeds in Ethiopia: the Koekoek, originally from South Africa, and the Fayoumi, originally from Egypt. Cross-validation results show this methodology to be effective in predicting breed suitability for specific environmental conditions. Furthermore, the model predicts suitable areas of the country where the breeds could be introduced. The specific climatic parameters that explained the potential distribution of each of the breeds were similar to the environment from which the breeds originated. This novel methodology finds application in livestock programs, allowing for a more informed decision when designing breeding programs and introduction programs, and increases our understanding of the role of the environment in livestock productivity.
Livestock plays an important role in the global economy. Climate change effects are not only limited to crop production, but also affect livestock production, for example reduced milk yields and milk quality, reduced meat production and reduced fertility. Therefore, livestock-based food security is threatened in many parts of the world. Furthermore, multiple stressors are a common phenomenon in many environments, and are likely to increase due to climate change. Among these stresses, heat stress appears to be the major factor which negatively influences livestock production. Hence, it is critical to identify agro-ecological zone-specific climate resilient thermo-tolerant animals to sustain livestock production. Livestock responds to the changing environments by altering their phenotypic and physiological characters. Therefore, survivability of the animal often depends on its ability to cope with or adapt to the existing conditions. So to sustain livestock production in an environment challenged by climate change, the animals must be genetically suitable and have the ability to survive in diversified environments. Biological markers or biomarkers indicate the biological states or alterations in expression pattern of genes or state of protein that serve as a reference point in breeding for the genetic improvement of livestock. Conventionally, identification of animals with superior genetic traits that were economically beneficial was the fundamental reason for identifying biomarkers in animals. Furthermore, compared with the behavioural, morphological or physiological responses in animals, the genetic markers are important because of the possibility of finding a solution to animal adaptability to climate change.
With the growing human population, and their improving wealth, it is predicted that there will be significant increases in demand for livestock products (mainly meat and milk). Recent years have demonstrated that the growth in livestock production has generally had significant impacts on wildlife worldwide; and these are, usually, negative. Here I review the interactions between livestock and wildlife and assess the mechanisms through which these interactions occur. The review is framed within the context of the socio-ecological system whereby people are as much a part of the interaction between livestock and wildlife as the animal species themselves. I highlight areas of interaction that are mediated through effects on the forage supply (vegetation) – neutral, positive and negative – however, the review broadly analyses the impacts of livestock production activities. The evidence suggests that it is not the interaction between the species themselves but the ancillary activities associated with livestock production (e.g. land use change, removal of predators, provision of water points) that are the major factors affecting the outcome for wildlife. So in future, there are two key issues that need to be addressed – first, we need to intensify livestock production in areas of ‘intensive’ livestock production in order to reduce the pressure for land use change to meet the demand for meat (land sparing). And second, if wildlife is to survive in areas where livestock production dominates, it will have to be the people part of the socio-ecological system that sees the benefits of having wildlife co-exist with livestock on farming lands (land sharing and win-win).