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Simon Jones

Sarah Farnham

A study of keeper-animal relationships in zoos

PhD research

The main objective of this study is to compare efficiency of oestrus detection as well as conception rates for inseminations performed based on visual observation (VO) and tail painting (TP), IceTag activity monitor, Nedap Lactivator system and various combinations of the three systems.  A secondary aim of the study is to identify cows in which oestrus was undetected or detected too late by all techniques, using progesterone assays. Further analysis will be conducted on this subgroup to determine whether these cows are; infertile, do not express oestrus overtly (silent heats), or whether lameness (as measured by locomotion scoring) is associated with this group. A final and exploratory aim of the study will be to investigate whether walking distance from the milking parlour to the pasture has an effect on oestrus behaviour in relation to cows with high locomotion scores.

Beef cattle are graded post-slaughter according to the EUROP system of classification. The desired grade for the UK beef industry is the R4L grade, however, less than half of all cattle slaughtered within the UK meet this target grade which costs the industry £12.5 million per year. There is no accurate and objective method of knowing when the live animal is at the desired R4L grade and so the aim of this research is to create a tool using statistical methods and live measurements which will give an accuarate prediction as to the classification grade the animal will cull-out at.

Collaborative research with Dr Rachel Murray (Animal Health Trust, Newmarket) investigating the influence of warm-up procedures on subsequent competitive performance in Grand Prix dressage horses.