The aim of the paper is to discuss the links between modern livestock production, including its techniques and concentration, with animal welfare requirements. Modern livestock production is related to modern facilities, precise livestock production, as well as intensive and high stocking density. At the same time, it requires providing the animals with minimal living conditions, i.e. the welfare set out in the relevant regulations. This in turn should guarantee a good quality of raw livestock materials and products.
Welfare Levels in Heritage Breed vs. Commercial Laying Hens in the Litter System
The objective of the study was to determine differences in welfare levels between heritage breed hens (Yellowleg Partridge, Sussex, Leghorn) and commercial crosses (ISA Brown, Lohmann Brown, Hy-Line) kept in the litter system with no outdoor access. The experiment was carried out with 180 hens of three heritage breeds (Yellowleg Partridge, Sussex, Leghorn) and 180 commercial crosses of laying hens (Hy-Line, ISA Brown, Lohmann). Layers were reared in the litter system with no outdoor access. During the experiment, production data were collected until 38 days of age and birds' behaviour was monitored for 24 h at 18, 20, 32 and 38 weeks of age. O f the three commercial lines of laying hens kept in the litter system with no outdoor access, the lowest welfare levels were characteristic of ISA Brown birds. Hy-Line and Lohmann layers were characterized by comparable welfare levels that were higher in relation to ISA Brown layers. The results also showed that Sussex hens reared in the litter system had higher welfare levels than Yellowleg Partridge and Leghorn hens. When comparing the results of heritage breed and commercial hens, it can be said that mortality and increased levels of aggression in heritage breed hens kept in the litter system suggest that their welfare levels were lower than in commercial layers.
In recent years, there has been a growing interest in animal welfare. Consumers of animal products are paying more attention to maintaining good husbandry conditions on the farms, but also to some of the procedures entailing pain and suffering. The most invasive procedures are castration and dehorning (disbudding), which are often performed without anaesthesia. Pain associated with tissue damage causes behavioural and physiological changes. Observation of behaviour combined with measurements of autonomic nervous system activation, and hormones of the hypothalamic- pituitary-adrenal axis, is the main method for assessing the emotional state of an animal. Immobilization and blood collection may themselves be a source of stress for these animals. There is a strong prerequisite for the development of non-invasive methods of assessing the level of animal welfare. One of them is infrared thermography. The study of eye temperature changes in cattle, measured with an infrared thermography camera, confirmed the activation of the autonomic nervous system in response to pain.
The aim of the study was to determine the yield and chemical composition of milk from TMR-(group I) and pasture-fed Simmental cows (group II). The study was conducted with second and third lactation Simmental cows between 30 and 200 days of lactation. The present research showed that compared to TMR feeding, the use of summer pasture feeding and proper supplementation with high-energy feeds allow for higher milk yield and higher nutritive value of the milk. Compared to TMR-fed cows (group I), milk from pastured cows (group II) was characterized by a more beneficial composition of protein fractions, and a higher content of α-lactalbumin, β-lactoglobulin and lactoferrin. It also contained more vitamins A and E, calcium, magnesium and iodine, and had a significantly (P≤0.05) lower cholesterol content. The milk of cows from group II contained over twice as much CLA (1.59% of all acids) and 35% more n-3 PUFA, which resulted in a more beneficial n-6/n-3 fatty acids ratio of 2.88. In addition, this milk contained significantly (P≤0.05) less saturated fatty acids (SFA) and significantly more (P≤0.05) mono-(MUFA) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). Consequently, the MUFA:SFA and PUFA:SFA ratios in this group were more favourable at 0.448 and 0.066, respectively. Also the content of desirable fatty acids (DFA) with hypocholesterolemic effects was higher in group II, which resulted in a more beneficial DFA:OFA ratio of 0.8 in this group. In conclusion, the use of summer pasture feeding and a proper supplemented feeding ration in Simmental cows with high-energy feeds allow for high milk yield and high nutritive value of the milk.
Research has shown that microclimate is determined not only by air microparticles, but also by the degree of air ionization. Ions affect the body through the respiratory tract and skin. Exposure of reared chickens to elevated air temperature (37°C–23°C) was found to accelerate the break-down of negative ions compared to temperature lower by 10°C. Negative air ionization offsets the adverse effect of elevated temperature on chickens. Higher (85%) air humidity during rearing of chickens was also observed to destroy negative ions. Research findings indicate that air ionization is an environmental element that contributes to improving performance in broiler chickens. Many studies have also confirmed a positive effect of air ionization on the body weight and health of piglets.