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Social Networks and Welfare in Future Animal Management.

Koene P, Ipema B - Animals (Basel) (2014)

Bottom Line: We describe here small social networks in horses, brown bears, laying hens and veal calves to illustrate the importance of measuring social networks among animals managed by humans.Emphasis is placed on the automatic measurement of identity, location, nearest neighbors and nearest neighbor distance for management purposes.It is concluded that social networks are important to the welfare of human-managed animal species and that welfare management based on automatic recordings will become available in the near future.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Animal Welfare, Wageningen UR Livestock Research, P.O. Box 65, 8200 AB Lelystad, The Netherlands. paul.koene@wur.nl.

ABSTRACT
It may become advantageous to keep human-managed animals in the social network groups to which they have adapted. Data concerning the social networks of farm animal species and their ancestors are scarce but essential to establishing the importance of a natural social network for farmed animal species. Social Network Analysis (SNA) facilitates the characterization of social networking at group, subgroup and individual levels. SNA is currently used for modeling the social behavior and management of wild animals and social welfare of zoo animals. It has been recognized for use with farm animals but has yet to be applied for management purposes. Currently, the main focus is on cattle, because in large groups (poultry), recording of individuals is expensive and the existence of social networks is uncertain due to on-farm restrictions. However, in many cases, a stable social network might be important to individual animal fitness, survival and welfare. For instance, when laying hens are not too densely housed, simple networks may be established. We describe here small social networks in horses, brown bears, laying hens and veal calves to illustrate the importance of measuring social networks among animals managed by humans. Emphasis is placed on the automatic measurement of identity, location, nearest neighbors and nearest neighbor distance for management purposes. It is concluded that social networks are important to the welfare of human-managed animal species and that welfare management based on automatic recordings will become available in the near future.

No MeSH data available.


Social network of bears in a large bear enclosures (LBE) using a nearest neighbor distance (NND) smaller than 5 meter (positive network in left graph and negative network in right graph).
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animals-04-00093-f002: Social network of bears in a large bear enclosures (LBE) using a nearest neighbor distance (NND) smaller than 5 meter (positive network in left graph and negative network in right graph).

Mentions: Significant positive associations were determined between some bears. The positive network showed a density of 0.16. The density of the negative network was 0.37 and was much higher than the density of the positive network. Nearest neighbor distances in the unlimited NN-matrix ranged from zero to 72 meter with an average of 13.36 meter (SD = 13.75 meters). Many individual bears appeared to have relatively fixed locations that may be territories or restricted home ranges and influence the associations and the network analysis. For instance, the blind Turkish bears (08, 09 and 10) occupied small areas that they hardly left. In a follow-up analysis, only nearest neighbors at a maximum NND of 5 meters were used (use of handmade notes on paper maps make a lower limit unreliable). Only 18% (638 of the 4710) of the NN-pair observations were used and the average NND was 3.38 meters (SD = 1.19 meter). The densities of the positive and negative network were 0.12 and 0.095, respectively. The correlation between the network using the NN-matrix with unlimited NND (N = 3491) and the network using max NND of 5 meters (N = 637) is 0.75 (P < 0.0001). The NND-limited network is shown in this paper (Figure 2). Bear02 and Bear03 were the only animals without any positive associations (solitary). Bears11, 12, 13 and 14 formed a pair-wise connected subgroup in the positive network (Figure 2; left graph; see also Table 5; Block 3, 4, 5) of young bears that roamed around with no fixed place in the enclosure. Furthermore, some strong pair associations (e.g., Bear04 and Bear05, Bear06 and Bear07, Bear01 and Bear09) were found. Bear09 and Bear10 were associated with Bear04. Negative associations were also found in the negative network (Figure 2; right graph). Six bears lacked negative associations while four bears had at least three negative associations (Bear04, Bear05, Bear12 and Bear13).


Social Networks and Welfare in Future Animal Management.

Koene P, Ipema B - Animals (Basel) (2014)

Social network of bears in a large bear enclosures (LBE) using a nearest neighbor distance (NND) smaller than 5 meter (positive network in left graph and negative network in right graph).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4494306&req=5

animals-04-00093-f002: Social network of bears in a large bear enclosures (LBE) using a nearest neighbor distance (NND) smaller than 5 meter (positive network in left graph and negative network in right graph).
Mentions: Significant positive associations were determined between some bears. The positive network showed a density of 0.16. The density of the negative network was 0.37 and was much higher than the density of the positive network. Nearest neighbor distances in the unlimited NN-matrix ranged from zero to 72 meter with an average of 13.36 meter (SD = 13.75 meters). Many individual bears appeared to have relatively fixed locations that may be territories or restricted home ranges and influence the associations and the network analysis. For instance, the blind Turkish bears (08, 09 and 10) occupied small areas that they hardly left. In a follow-up analysis, only nearest neighbors at a maximum NND of 5 meters were used (use of handmade notes on paper maps make a lower limit unreliable). Only 18% (638 of the 4710) of the NN-pair observations were used and the average NND was 3.38 meters (SD = 1.19 meter). The densities of the positive and negative network were 0.12 and 0.095, respectively. The correlation between the network using the NN-matrix with unlimited NND (N = 3491) and the network using max NND of 5 meters (N = 637) is 0.75 (P < 0.0001). The NND-limited network is shown in this paper (Figure 2). Bear02 and Bear03 were the only animals without any positive associations (solitary). Bears11, 12, 13 and 14 formed a pair-wise connected subgroup in the positive network (Figure 2; left graph; see also Table 5; Block 3, 4, 5) of young bears that roamed around with no fixed place in the enclosure. Furthermore, some strong pair associations (e.g., Bear04 and Bear05, Bear06 and Bear07, Bear01 and Bear09) were found. Bear09 and Bear10 were associated with Bear04. Negative associations were also found in the negative network (Figure 2; right graph). Six bears lacked negative associations while four bears had at least three negative associations (Bear04, Bear05, Bear12 and Bear13).

Bottom Line: We describe here small social networks in horses, brown bears, laying hens and veal calves to illustrate the importance of measuring social networks among animals managed by humans.Emphasis is placed on the automatic measurement of identity, location, nearest neighbors and nearest neighbor distance for management purposes.It is concluded that social networks are important to the welfare of human-managed animal species and that welfare management based on automatic recordings will become available in the near future.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Animal Welfare, Wageningen UR Livestock Research, P.O. Box 65, 8200 AB Lelystad, The Netherlands. paul.koene@wur.nl.

ABSTRACT
It may become advantageous to keep human-managed animals in the social network groups to which they have adapted. Data concerning the social networks of farm animal species and their ancestors are scarce but essential to establishing the importance of a natural social network for farmed animal species. Social Network Analysis (SNA) facilitates the characterization of social networking at group, subgroup and individual levels. SNA is currently used for modeling the social behavior and management of wild animals and social welfare of zoo animals. It has been recognized for use with farm animals but has yet to be applied for management purposes. Currently, the main focus is on cattle, because in large groups (poultry), recording of individuals is expensive and the existence of social networks is uncertain due to on-farm restrictions. However, in many cases, a stable social network might be important to individual animal fitness, survival and welfare. For instance, when laying hens are not too densely housed, simple networks may be established. We describe here small social networks in horses, brown bears, laying hens and veal calves to illustrate the importance of measuring social networks among animals managed by humans. Emphasis is placed on the automatic measurement of identity, location, nearest neighbors and nearest neighbor distance for management purposes. It is concluded that social networks are important to the welfare of human-managed animal species and that welfare management based on automatic recordings will become available in the near future.

No MeSH data available.