donkey

Seasonal abundance of the stable fly Stomoxys calcitrans in southwest England

Citation

A. Parravani, Charlotte Chivers, Nikki Bell, Sarah Long, Faith A. Burden, Richard Wall. May 2019. Seasonal abundance of the stable fly Stomoxys calcitrans in southwest England. Medical and Veterinary Entomology.

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Publication date: 
30 May 2019
DOI number: 
10.1111/mve.12386
Abstract

The stable fly Stomoxys calcitrans (L.) is a cosmopolitan biting fly of both economic and welfare concern, primarily as a result of its painful bite, which can cause blood loss, discomfort and loss of productivity in livestock. Between June and November in 2016 and May and December in 2017, Alsynite sticky‐traps were deployed at four Donkey Sanctuary sites in southwest England, which experience recurrent seasonal biting fly problems. The aim was to evaluate the seasonal dynamics of the stable fly populations and the risk factors associated with abundance. In total, 19 835 S. calcitrans were trapped during the study period. In both years, abundance increased gradually over summer months, peaking in late August/September. There were no relationships between seasonally detrended abundance and any climatic factors. Fly abundance was significantly different between sites and population size was consistent between years at three of the four sites. The median chronological age, as determined by pteridine analysis of flies caught live when blood‐feeding, was 4.67 days (interquartile range 3.8–6.2 days) in males and 6.79 days (interquartile range 4.8–10.4 days) in females; there was no significant, consistent change in age or age structure over time, suggesting that adult flies emerge continuously over the summer, rather than in discrete age‐related cohorts. The data suggest that flies are more abundant in the vicinity of active animal facilities, although the strong behavioural association between flies and their hosts means that they are less likely to be caught on traps where host availability is high. The implications of these results for fly management are discussed.
Published online.

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Donkey and mule behaviour for the veterinary team

Citation

Anna Haines, Joanna Goliszek. January 2019. Donkey and mule behaviour for the veterinary team. UK-Vet Equine. 3:1. 27-32.

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Publication date: 
23 January 2019
Journal: 
UK-Vet Equine
Volume: 
3
Issue: 
1
Page numbers: 
27-32
DOI number: 
10.12968/ukve.2019.3.1.27
Abstract

The donkey's evolution, ethology and learning capacity mean that the behaviour of donkeys and mules is significantly different to that of the horse. Subtle behaviour change in the donkey can indicate severe, life-threatening disease. An understanding of donkey and mule behaviour will help veterinary surgeons to handle these animals safely, treat them effectively and educate owners to spot the subtle signs of disease

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Engagement behaviour of donkeys during equine assisted activities

Citation
Authors
Presentation details
Date presented: 
Sunday 28 October 2018
Abstract

There is a wealth of research citing the benefits of Equid Assisted Interactions (EAI’s) but these are often anthropocentric and fail to include measures that capture donkey engagement behaviours during sessions. This observational bias, possibly quite common in EAI research, reinforces the assumption that animal assisted interactions are somehow enriching for the non-human animal thus welfare interests can be overlooked.

Aims and Objectives
• To design a quality of engagement tool (QET) that captures engagement behaviours of both donkeys and autistic children during interaction sessions.
• To identify potential enrichment or welfare measures for individual donkeys during EAI sessions.

Engagement behaviour of donkeys during equine assisted activities

Citation
Authors
Presentation details
Date presented: 
Tuesday 4 December 2018
Event name: 
Congreso Bienstar Equino
Abstract

There is a wealth of research citing the benefits of Equid Assisted Interventions (EAI's) but these are often anthropocentric and fail to include measures that capture donkey engagement behaviours during sessions. This observational bias, possibly quite common in EAI research, reinforces the assumption that animal activities are somehow enriching for the non-human animal thus welfare interests can be overlooked. By designing and implementing a unique Quality of Engagement Tool (QET), I was able to capture engagement behaviours of both donkeys and autistic children during interaction sessions and identify potential enrichment or welfare measures for both species participants.

Training Compassionate Vets for Calmer Donkeys

Citation

Anna Haines. Training Compassionate Vets for Calmer Donkeys. Poster presented at SPANA Working Animal Congress 2017. (2 October - 5 October 2017). Marrakech, Morocco.

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Date presented: 
Tuesday 3 October 2017
Abstract

INTRODUCTION

Working donkeys and mules often require veterinary intervention for a variety of clinical problems. It is crucial that vets, animal health professionals and other equine professionals have a sound knowledge of donkey and mule behaviour to enable them to assess the animals and provide treatment in a species-accurate, humane and compassionate way.

HANDLING TECHNIQUES AFFECT EQUINE WELFARE

The way in which donkeys and mules are handled can affect their welfare since quality of life is measured not only by physiological factors but also by emotional and affective states (1). Negative interactions can contribute to the development of fearful behavioural responses which can persist for a long time after the interaction takes place. Correct application of behaviour modification techniques can positively develop the human-animal bond and help the animal to remain calm during required veterinary procedures, often meaning that painful methods of restraint are not required. Simple techniques for approaching equines, taking rectal temperatures, using stethoscopes and appropriate restraint can, and should, be used to reduce stress for all aspects of a veterinary examination and treatment.

HUMAN BODY LANGUAGE

Correct approach to an equine patient is vital to minimise stress and to prevent a flight response. Equines are sensitive animals who can detect very subtle body language signals. The body language and behaviour of the veterinary surgeon and animal handler can influence the animal’s behaviour; approach with calm, relaxed body language and allow the animal the opportunity to investigate you.
A relaxed, calm approach:

• Rounded shoulders
• Relaxed muscle tone, gentle movements
• No direct eye contact
• Indirect approach from the animal’s shoulder
• Allowing time for the animal to investigate

PRACTICAL APPLICATION

• Using a stethoscope
• Allow the animal the chance to have a look at your equipment
• Introduce the stethoscope to the animal’s body gradually, starting in an area that is not too sensitive
• Stroke or scratch the animal to provide reassurance as you work
• Taking a rectal temperature
• Help the animal to relax by approaching steadily from the side
• Scratch the animal along his body and on either side of his tail to encourage relaxation
• Do some gentle lifts of the tail before lifting to insert the thermometer

LESS IS MORE

When considering methods of restraint for veterinary examination consider that often ‘less is more’. Distressed and fearful animals are more likely to display erratic behaviours and become more likely to cause injury to themselves or their handlers (2). If calm, consistent handling is not sufficient to keep an equine calm during examination, and restraint is required, the least invasive and minimally aversive restraint options, such as a head hold or the raising of one leg, should be attempted first.

Ear twitches should not be used on equines; a recent study (3) found a significant increase in sympathetic tone and salivary cortisol levels when an ear twitch is applied and it also led to the development of avoidance behaviour indicating the aversive-ness of this procedure. Equines can become sensitised to aversive events or procedures after very few exposures (4) therefore aversive procedures should be avoided wherever possible and stress experienced during veterinary procedures must be kept to an absolute minimum.

Donkeys and Humans – how the use of donkeys as Livestock Units on Agriculture Schemes in Ireland potentially influences government-NGO interactions

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Authors
Presentation details
Date presented: 
Monday 7 May 2018
Abstract

Background
In many parts of the developing world, donkeys are kept as working animals and used primarily for transport (of goods and people) and agricultural activities (such as ploughing). In these regions, donkeys are of particular value due to their low purchasing price, ease of management and efficiency of work output. Similarly in the past in Ireland, donkeys proved to have innumerable uses, being capable of surviving and working on terrain that was unsuitable for horses, which latter, people could not afford in any case. Today, donkeys are mainly kept either as companion animals or as Livestock Units (LUs) registered on agricultural area aid schemes to aid in the collection of farm subsidies. In 2017 the Department of Agriculture (DAFM) who administer the subsidy scheme, also made an ex gratia payment of €120,000 to The Donkey Sanctuary to support its work in rescue/rehoming, in controlling indiscriminate breeding and in providing veterinary services to privately owned donkeys in Ireland.

Methods
Information was gathered concerning the mapping of areas eligible for subsidy payments, the numbers of applicants, the place of origin of applicants and the numbers of registered donkeys (and other equidae) these applicants used as LUs for the years 2012, 2013 and 2014. The value of payments made to applicants registering equidae as LUs during these years was also gathered. The Donkey Sanctuary provided information regarding their interactions with private-donkey owners including subsidy applicants – the collection of background information, the provision of veterinary services and the rehoming of donkeys to applicants who might register them as LUs.

Results
Subsidy year Total equine-applicant payments €uro value Horse/donkey Livestock Unit numbers Total equine Livestock Unit numbers
2010 € 4,030,377 10480
2011 € 6,214,130 18447
horses donkeys
2012 € 2,374,996 4546 2222 6768
2013 € 2,284,832 3564 2593 6157
2014 € 2,305,650 2606 2544 5150

Table 1. €uro value of ANC equine-applicant payments and the numbers of equines registered as Livestock Units (LUs) on ANC during the years 2010 to 2014

In the first 11 months of 2017, The Donkey Sanctuary provided donkey welfare improvement services to 176 owners of 700 private donkeys including circa 90 castrations, 450 farriery, 50 dental treatments, 130 identification and 60 husbandry including nutritional advice. They rehomed approximately 40 donkeys to subsidy applicants who might use them as LUs. The detail will be presented.

Conclusion
DAFM administer an agriculture subsidy scheme which permits the use of donkeys as Livestock Units but does not have an ostensible animal welfare function; never-the-less they make ex gratia animal welfare payments to NGOs such as The Donkey Sanctuary in support of services targeted at the owners of private donkeys. This provides an opportunity for government and NGOs to engage in such a way that public monies might be better used to support animal welfare improvements.

Should autistic children and donkeys be equal participants?

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Authors
Presentation details
Date presented: 
Sunday 7 August 2016
Abstract

We have seen a rise in research investigating equine assisted interventions to relieve problematic traits in children with autism. Parents have been exposed to promises about the potential changes that such interventions achieves but the evidence for non-verbal complex children with autism has been sadly thin and such research usually assumes equines are a homogenous group without considering that their individual characters and emotional state could play a role in the encounter. Often Autism research focuses on dis-ability rather than the autists’ unique abilities which could provide an alternative lens into AAI. This project aims to mark a new era of multidisciplinary AAI research that answers Birke’s (1) question ‘what’s in it for the animals’ by using The Qualitative Behaviour Assessment tool that includes welfare and emotional state of, in this case, donkeys, Minero et al (2) .A Narrative Inquiry method measures both children and families interpretation of the encounters.
This research aims to identify if the synthesis of encounter between donkey and autistic child can (a) drive a new respect for equine- human sensibility whilst (b) providing a genuine enrichment experience for donkeys living in an animal welfare sanctuary and (c) could these sessions show parents and families the unique potential of their autistic child, evidence of a capacity that could facilitate a better understanding of the child’s perception?
Human Participants: 4 non-verbal Autistic children with complex needs between 4-8 years old.
Donkey Participants: 4 AAI facilitators from a UK animal sanctuary.
Methodology:
Repeated Measures design with 2 non participant observers (one child, one donkey focused) with controlled conditions.
Semi structured interviews were conducted with families, grooms and AAI staff as well as the children using augmentative communication.
Early findings: are showing some correlation of outcomes between each child and donkey pair.

Hidden in plain sight: An interspecies quality of engagement tool to assess engagement and consent of donkeys and autistic children during interaction sessions

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Presentation details
Date presented: 
Wednesday 23 August 2017
Abstract

There is a wealth of research claiming the benefits of Equid Assisted Interactions (EAI’s) but these are often anthropocentric and fail to include measures that capture the abilities as well as disabilities of their participants. This study concentrates on the dyadic relationship between pre or nonverbal autistic children and their donkey partners during interaction sessions.
Benefits of EAI’s for autistic children may derive from an extension of their social curriculum by visiting the EAI centre. They may thrive from engaging with the staff and volunteers, experiencing new sensory stimulations, spending time outdoors and being immersed into an environment that is deemed ‘autism friendly.’ Similarly, the equids may also enjoy an extension of their social curriculum with additional interaction with favoured staff or equid companions, additional food, grooming or rewarding husbandry prior to or after each interaction. Ultimate benefits may be regular veterinary attention and high and consistent standards of care that could result in an extended life.
Any of the above benefits are acceptable and potentially positive, however, none of them stem directly from the dyadic interactions themselves. Prior to clarifying potential benefits of EAI, I argue that it is essential to first measure the quality of engagement between heterospecific participants. Controlling variables for EAI research is notoriously difficult, not least because of the individuality of participants; some show environmental preference, staff or partner preference. Clarifying the quality of engagement between participants provides an understanding about the nature of each individual’s behavioural responses relative to the other. Knowing the quality of engagement between participants, creates an opportunity to disentangle variables and interpret the potentially confounding causality of perceived benefits.
By designing and utilising a unique Quality of Engagement Tool (QET) to measure engagement of both donkeys and children, I was able to capture the emerging relationship between human and equid participants. I observed how heterogeneity of character and personal preference, irrespective of species, affected levels of engagement. The tool identified differences in engagement seeking or avoiding that varied, with different partners.
The QET was administered by one person observing the donkey and another person observing the child. This was to avoid the possibility that one member of the dyad would gain a larger share of observer’s attention with unusual, amusing or neotenic displays, rendering the other partners subtle behaviours unintentionally missed by casual observation. This observational bias, possibly quite common in other EAI sessions, meant that concern signals could be unintentionally, hidden in plain sight. Donkeys are generally more stoic than horses and may only display subtle behaviour changes when in pain or fearful). My findings show that QET enables subtle nuances to be detected in real-time and decisions made about the suitability, health and wellbeing of either participant. The consent of both partners was easily observable, thus providing a voice for otherwise non-verbal participants. Comparable data results identified the affect and importance of partner’s engagement behaviour reinforcing the need to include both species as equal participants in the methodology.

Measuring engagement between autistic children and donkeys

Citation

Michelle Witham Jones. Measuring engagement between autistic children and donkeys. Presented at 27th International Society for Anthrozoology Conference. (2 July - 5 July 2018). Sydney, Australia.

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Presentation details
Date presented: 
Thursday 5 July 2018
Abstract

There is a wealth of research claiming the ‘benefits’ of Equid Assisted Interactions (EAI’s), but these are often anthropocentric and describe ‘improvement’ to the human’s disability as the measurable benefit. This study concentrates on the dyadic relationship between pre or nonverbal autistic children and their donkey partners during interaction sessions.
Prior to clarifying potential ‘benefits’ of EAI, I propose that it is essential to first measure the quality of engagement between heterospecific participants. This provides contextual evidence about the nature of each individual’s behavioural responses relative to the other. Knowing the quality of engagement between participants, creates an opportunity to disentangle variables and interpret the potentially confounding causality of perceived benefits.
By designing and utilising a unique Quality of Engagement Tool (QET) to measure engagement of both donkeys and children, I was able to capture the emerging relationship between human and equid participants. I observed how heterogeneity of character and personal preference, irrespective of species, affected levels of engagement. The tool identified differences in engagement seeking or avoiding that varied, with different partners. The QET was designed to avoid the possibility that one member of the dyad would gain a larger share of observer’s attention, rendering the other partners’ subtle behaviours unintentionally missed by casual observation. This observational bias, possibly quite common in other EAI sessions, meant that welfare concern signals could be unintentionally, hidden in plain sight. Donkeys are generally more stoic than horses and may only display subtle behaviour changes when in pain or fearful. My findings showed that QET enabled subtle nuances to be detected in real-time and decisions made about the suitability, well-being and consent of either participant.

The Synthesis of Encounters among Autistic Children and donkeys: Can a mixed methods design show positive outcomes for both species?

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Authors
Presentation details
Date presented: 
Friday 7 October 2016
Abstract

Many studies that regard the effectiveness of animal assisted interventions are in fact only interested in the child, assuming that the animals in the research are a homogenous group whose characters and emotional states don’t play a part.
Both nonverbal autistic children and donkeys communicate with gesture and often with limited vocalisations. Both come from a social species and are sentient. Their individual emotional states must affect the other.
This study places both the nonverbal autistic children and the donkeys that facilitate their intervention as equal participants, thus recording both species responses using a qualitative behaviour analyses tool and a multispecies ethnographic approach.

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