A novel scale of behavioural indicators of stress for use with domestic horses

Young, Tamsin, Creighton, Emma, Smith, Tessa and Hosie, Charlotte (2012) A novel scale of behavioural indicators of stress for use with domestic horses.


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Behaviour scores (BS) offer non-invasive, objective and easy to use ways of assessing welfare in animals. Their development has, however, largely focused on behavioural reactions to stressful events (often induced), and little use of physiological measures has been made to underpin and validate the behavioural measures. This study aimed to develop a physiologically validated scale of behavioural indicators of stress for the purpose of welfare assessment in stabled domestic horses. To achieve this, behavioural and physiological data were collected from 32 horses that underwent routine husbandry procedures. Principal component analysis (PCA) of the behavioural and physiological data revealed three meaningful components that were used as the basis of the scale. Analysis of video clips of the horses’ responses to the husbandry procedures was undertaken by a panel of equestrian industry professionals using a free choice profiling (FCP) methodology. These results were added to the scale along with key definitions from relevant literature. Salivary cortisol levels were significantly correlated with the BS confirming the scale was meaningful and reflected physiological stress. The scale offers an easy to use ‘tool’ for rapid, reliable non-invasive welfare assessment in horses, and reduces the need for potentially invasive physiological measures.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Copyright © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. NOTICE: this is the author's version of a work that was accepted for publication in Applied Animal Behaviour Science. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Young, T. Creighton, E., Smith, T., Hosie C. (2012) 'A novel scale of behavioural indicators of stress for use with domestic horses'. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, Volume 140 issue 1, pp. 33' 43. DOI:10.1016/j.applanim.2012.05.008 and can be accessed via this link http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2012.05.008 on the publisher's website at http://www.journals.elsevierhealth.com/periodicals/applan/article/S0168-1591(12)00173-6/abstract
Keywords: Horse, Behaviour scores, Cortisol, Saliva, Welfare assessment, Non-invasive
Divisions: ?? GlyndwrUniversity ??
Depositing User: ULCC Admin
Date Deposited: 01 Aug 2012 00:12
Last Modified: 11 Dec 2017 20:07
URI: http://glyndwr.repository.guildhe.ac.uk/id/eprint/3976

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