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  • Author or Editor: Camie R. Heleski x
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Abstract

Objective—To examine attitudes toward farm animal welfare among veterinary college faculty.

Design—E-mail survey.

Study Population—157 US veterinary college faculty with large animal or food animal emphasis.

Procedure—Veterinarians from 27 US veterinary colleges were contacted via e-mail and asked to complete a 7-page survey relating to farm animal welfare issues. Thirty-one percent of those contacted responded.

Results—71% of respondents self-characterized their attitude toward farm animal welfare as "we can use animals for the greater human good but have an obligation to provide for the majority of the animals' physiologic and behavioral needs." An additional 19% of respondents were more concerned about animal welfare than was indicated by that statement, and 10% were less concerned about farm animal welfare than was indicated by that statement. Significant relationships among demographic variables and attitude scores were observed, including more concerned attitudes among females, those with more liberal political views, and those who cited lower religiosity. No relationship between attitude and age was observed.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Veterinary college faculty have the opportunity to impact many stakeholders within the animal agriculture industries (eg, future veterinarians and policy makers looking for a veterinary science perspective). Results indicated that a considerable level of concern toward farm animal welfare is present in this population. Although the process of change may not be rapid, it is likely that the influence of these respondents will factor heavily into enhancing farm animal welfare. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2005;226:1538–1546)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To determine whether therapeutic riding resulted in higher levels of stress or frustration for horses than did recreational riding and whether therapeutic riding with at-risk individuals was more stressful for the horses than was therapeutic riding with individuals with physical or emotional handicaps.

Design—Observational study.

Animals—14 horses in a therapeutic riding program.

Procedure—An ethogram of equine behaviors was created, and horses were observed while ridden by 5 groups of riders (recreational riders, physically handicapped riders, psychologically handicapped riders, atrisk children, and special education children). Number of stress-related behaviors (ears pinned back, head raised, head turned, head tossed, head shaken, head down, and defecation) was compared among groups.

Results—No significant differences in mean number of stress-related behaviors were found when horses were ridden by recreational riders, physically handicapped riders, psychologically handicapped riders, or special education children. However, mean number of stress-related behaviors was significantly higher when horses were ridden by the at-risk children.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that for horses in a therapeutic riding program, being ridden by physically or psychologically handicapped individuals is no more stressful for the horses than is being ridden in the same setting by recreational riders. However, at-risk children caused more stress to the horses, suggesting that the time horses are ridden by at-risk children should be limited both daily and weekly.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To determine the effects of a therapeutic riding program on psychosocial measurements among children considered at risk for poor performance or failure in school or life and among children in special education programs.

Design—Observational study.

Population—17 at-risk children (6 boys and 11 girls) and 14 special education children (7 boys and 7 girls).

Procedure—For the at-risk children, anger, anxiety, perceived self-competence, and physical coordination were assessed. For the special education children, anger and cheerfulness were measured, and the children's and their mothers' perceptions of the children's behavior were assessed. Measurements were made before and after an 8-session therapeutic riding program.

Results—For boys enrolled in the special education program, anger was significantly decreased after completion of the riding program. The boys' mothers also perceived significant improvements in their children's behavior after completion of the program.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that an 8-session therapeutic riding program can significantly decrease anger in adolescent boys in a special education program and positively affect their mothers' perception of the boys' behavior.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association