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Welfare of emus during their handling and transport

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Welfare of emus during their handling and transport

  1. 1. Welfare of emus during their handling and transport Deepa Raju Menon Avian Research Centre Faculty of Land and Food Systems University of British Columbia 4th September, 2013
  2. 2. • Ratite • Native to Australia • Products: Fat - Oil Meat Leather Feathers Eggs Emu (Dromaius novahollandiae) http://fancypigeonskerala.blogspot.ca/2011/11/end-use-of-emu-birds.html
  3. 3. • Long distance between farms and slaughter facilities • Economic losses due to transportation • Welfare issues • Commercial farming • Slaughter age • No previous studies Background
  4. 4. Objectives • Identify / assess the current practices in emu industry • Establish baseline concentrations and reference intervals for physiological variables and behavior • Effect of handling and transport on physiological variables, meat quality and behavior • Efficacy of an oral supplement (Nutri-charge) Improving the welfare of emus during handling and transport
  5. 5. Experiments and findings
  6. 6. Experiment 1- Emu industry survey • Managemental practices • Transport • Slaughter and processing • Product management • Concerns of personnel
  7. 7. Respondents Total responses - 48 US - 29 Canada - 6 India - 13 -------------------------------------------- Paper surveys - 33 E-surveys - 15 Interviews - 8
  8. 8. Findings • Non-availability of processing facilities • Most emus were transported in the fall months • Male and female emus were shipped together • Unfamiliar emus were never mixed • Emus run, slip, fall down and vocalize • Stressed - collapse and die
  9. 9. Experiment – 2 Baseline hematological and biochemical parameters
  10. 10. Experiment – 3 Emu transport study
  11. 11. Emu transport studies Warm weather conditions (n = 24) From Denholm, Saskatchewan 6 h journey, 15 h rest at lairage Slaughter - Federal Abattoir, Lacombe, Alberta. Cool weather conditions (n = 18) A round trip from Denholm 6 h journey, 15 h rest at lairage, Farm slaughter A group slaughtered without transport (n = 4)
  12. 12. Supplement treatment groups 1). Given both pre- and post-transport (S-S) 2). Given only pre-transport (S-W) and 3). Control (placebo) (W-W) Blood samples collected: 24 hours prior to transport Immediately after transport (+7 h ) (Trial 2) At slaughter (+15h)
  13. 13. Effect of transport • Weight loss • Increase in cloacal temperatures • Injuries: 38 % no wounds or bruises 40 % bruises only 22 % small wounds
  14. 14. Effect of transport, lairage and slaughter • Creatinine from 10 1 to 26 1 µMol/L (P<0.001) • Glucose from 10.1 0.4 to 14.3 0.4 mMol/L (P<0.01) • WBC from 12.7 0.6 to 15.3 0.8 x 109/L (P<0.01) • UA : creatinine from 19.5 2.4 to 8.4 2.4 (P<0.001)
  15. 15. Warm vs. cool weather • Body weight loss (shrinkage; P<0.001) 2.1 0.2 vs. 0.6 0.2 kg • Body temperature (P<0.01) 2.6 0.2 vs. 1.7 0.2oC • Plasma corticosterone (P<0.001) 24.5 2.8 vs. 4.9 3.2 ng/mL • Packed cell volume (P<0.05) 3.3 1.9 vs. -2.9 2.2 %
  16. 16. Supplement S-S group • Significantly (P<0.01) lower CK, ALT activities & creatinine levels • Significantly (P<0.05) higher body weight gain during lairage • Significantly (P<0.05) lower overall increase in corticosterone
  17. 17. Clinical indication • Increased ALT, AST and CK levels • Hyperglycemia • Hyperthermia • Heterophilic leukocytosis • Reduced blood uric acid: creatinine ratios with elevated creatinine Exertional rhabdomyolysis
  18. 18. • Etiology - handling, prolonged chases and transportation • Pathogenesis - lysis of the muscle cell walls, leakage of contents into the blood stream • Characteristics - brain damage, intravascular coagulation, paralysis and death Extreme caution - handling and transporting emus Exertional rhabdomyolysis / capture myopathy
  19. 19. Experiment 4 - Emu behavior
  20. 20. Proportion of emus (n = 42) performing each event during pre-loading handling 0 20 40 60 80 %ofemus Events Trial 1 Trial 2
  21. 21. Vocalization during handling Recorder: R5-Roland Wave Recorder (Roland US, Los Angeles, CA) Analysis: Raven Lite Interactive software, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, NY (http://www.birds.cornell.edu/ raven)
  22. 22. Sonogram - distress calls and normal vocalizations Frequency(Hz) Time (seconds) Female Male
  23. 23. Comparison between temperament categories Variables Units Calm and easy Slightly panicky Flighty P-value(n = 17) (n = 11) (n = 14) Mean event scores 3.0±0.5b 4.0±0.6ab 4.9±0.5a <0.05 Body temperature oC 38.3±0.1b 38.4±0.2b 38.9±0.2a <0.05 Total protein g/L 56.2±2.8a 52.7±1.1ab 48.0±1.5b <0.05 H/L ratio 4.5±2.5b 15.1±3.1a 8.3±1.0ab <0.05 Corticosterone ng/L 31.3±5.5a 10.0±2.1b 31.4±4.8a <0.01
  24. 24. Total handling time Variables Units ≤ 8 min (n = 14) > 8 min (n = 28) P-value Corticosterone ng/mL 15.1 4.7 29.3 3.4 0.02 Glucose mMol/L 10.1 1.0 12.7 0.4 0.03 AST IU/L 1022 577 2429 422 0.05 CK IU/L 6705 2249 15143 1642 0.004 WBC count X103/L 17.2 1.2 13.4 0.9 0.01 Effect of handling time on biochemical variables
  25. 25. Effect of transportation on time budgets for major behaviors P<0.001 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 Pecking fences Huddling Feeding Resting Locomotion Standing Pacing Grooming Aggression %activitytime Pre-transport Post-transport P<0.001 P<0.01 Behavior
  26. 26. Experiment 5 Emu meat quality
  27. 27. Carcass and meat quality characteristics Warm weather transport • Significantly (P< 0.01) higher drip loss DL24h and DL5 days • High pH - ultimate pH24 > 6 • Dark Firm & Dry (DFD) tendency • Poor color stability
  28. 28. Association between driploss and loss in body weight 0.2 0.6 1.0 1.4 0 3 6 9 12 Driploss(%)legmeat 24hofstorage Loss in body weight at slaughter (%) r = 0.66, P<0.001
  29. 29. Relationship between muscle L* and pH 25 28 31 34 37 40 5.5 6.0 6.5 7.0 ThighL* Thigh pH 24h of storage r = -0.43, P<0.005
  30. 30. Normal and defective meat Regular meat DFD meat Myopathic meat pH24 = 6.5, L = 33.1, pH24 =7.1, L = 27.3, pH24 = 7, L = 39.6, a* = 12.2, b*= -0.9 a* = 11.4, b* = -1.4 a* = 19.5, b*= 9.6
  31. 31. • Fence pecking - separation from conspecifics • Distress calls - signaling behaviour • Changes in time budgets - stressful events • Temperament categories - biochemical variables • Handling time - biochemical variables To improve the well being of emus: • Habituating emus • Minimal handling Summary
  32. 32. Summary Transport resulted in  Hyperthermia  Dehydration  Metabolic imbalances  Increased serum enzymes  Altered immune status  Incidents of capture myopathy Solutions  Electrolytes and nutrients supplements  Night/cool weather transport  Better loading and unloading techniques  Minimal and careful handling
  33. 33. Acknowledgements Funding BC Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, administered by the UBC Specialty Bird Research Committee Scholarships Four Year Fellowship, International Partial Tuition Scholarship, Biely Memorial & Jacob Biely Scholarship Emu producers Dwayne & Jennifer Harder, Dr. Bill Code Lab Facility Lacombe, Agriculture and AgriFood Canada Supervisor Dr. Kimberly M. Cheng Supervisory Committee: Dr. Raja Rajamahendran Dr. A. L. Schaefer Dr. David Fraser Dr. Darin C. Bennett Avian Science Research Group
  34. 34. THANK YOU

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