|Id||Title||Authors||Abstract||Picture||Thematic fields||Recommender▲||Reviewers||Submission date|
14 Dec 2022
Feed efficiency of lactating Holstein cows was not as repeatable across diets as within diet over subsequent lactation stagesAmelie Fischer, Philippe Gasnier, philippe faverdin https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.02.10.430560
A focus on feed efficiency reproducibility and repeatability of dairy cows fed different diets over the lactation stage.Recommended by Alberto Atzori based on reviews by Ioannis Kaimakamis, Angela Schwarm and 2 anonymous reviewers
The topic of feed efficiency is under discussion in the scientific community and several studies pointed out that lactation stage has to be accounted for when estimates of feed efficiency are carried out, especially for genetic ranking of animals and their performances, as highlighted by Li et al. (2017). Other researchers applied a latin square design to test dietary effects across lactation (Ipharraguerre et al. 2002) but this approach cannot be followed out of experimental conditions and particularly does not allow, nowadays, to valorize precision livestock farm data to get phenotypic information from individual animals at farm level.
The current manuscript by Fischer, et al. (2022a) describes an experimental trial in which cows were first fed a high starch diet-low fibre then switched over to a low starch diet-high fibre and individually monitored over time. Data were analyzed with the objective to investigate effects within diets and across diets. Since all cows went through the same sequence at the same time it was not possible to completely separate the confounding effect of lactation stage and diet as stated by the authors. However, this manuscript adds methodological discussions and opens research questions especially to the matter of repeatability and reproducibility of feed efficiency of individual animals over the lactation stage. These variables are fundamental to evaluate nutritional traits and phenotypic performances of dairy cows at farm level, as highlighted by a paper of the same first author (Fischer, et al. 2022b) dealing to reproducibility and repeatability with a similar approach. My opinion is that this manuscript gives the opportunity to enlarge the scientific discussions on the calculation of repeatability and reproducibility of feed efficiency of individual animals over time. In particular, as in this study, specific mathematical approaches need to be carried out with the final goal to analyze and valorize precision livestock farm data for cow phenotyping and to propose new methods of feed efficiency evaluations. It also needs complete databases carried out under experimental conditions. In fact it has to be considered that this manuscript makes available to the scientific community all the data and the R code developed for data analysis giving the opportunity to replicate the calculations and propose new advancements in the feed efficiency evaluations of dairy cows.
Fischer A, Gasnier P, Faverdin P (2022a) Feed efficiency of lactating Holstein cows was not as repeatable across diets as within diet over subsequent lactation stages. bioRxiv, 2021.02.10.430560, ver. 3 peer-reviewed and recommended by Peer Community in Animal Science. https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.02.10.430560
Fischer A, Dai X, Kalscheur KF (2022b) Feed efficiency of lactating Holstein cows is repeatable within diet but less reproducible when changing dietary starch and forage concentrations. animal, 16, 100599. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.ANIMAL.2022.100599
Ipharraguerre IR, Ipharraguerre RR, Clark JH (2002) Performance of Lactating Dairy Cows Fed Varying Amounts of Soyhulls as a Replacement for Corn Grain. Journal of Dairy Science, 85, 2905–2912. https://doi.org/10.3168/JDS.S0022-0302(02)74378-6
Li B, Berglund B, Fikse WF, Lassen J, Lidauer MH, Mäntysaari P, Løvendahl P (2017) Neglect of lactation stage leads to naive assessment of residual feed intake in dairy cattle. Journal of Dairy Science, 100, 9076–9084. https://doi.org/10.3168/JDS.2017-12775
|Feed efficiency of lactating Holstein cows was not as repeatable across diets as within diet over subsequent lactation stages||Amelie Fischer, Philippe Gasnier, philippe faverdin||<p> Background: Improving feed efficiency has become a common target for dairy farmers to<br>meet the requirement of producing more milk with fewer resources. To improve feed<br>efficiency, a prerequisite is to ensure that the cows identified...||Cattle production, Ruminant nutrition||Alberto Atzori||Anonymous, Ioannis Kaimakamis, Giuseppe Conte, Angela Schwarm||2021-02-11 08:43:59||View|
06 Sep 2023
Validation of a Radio frequency identification system for tracking location of laying hens in a quasi-commercial aviary systemSabine G. Gebhardt-Henrich, Alexander Kashev, Matthew B. Petelle, Michael J. Toscano https://doi.org/10.1101/2023.02.16.528820
Tracking large numbers of hens in aviary housing: validation of a Radio Frequency Identification systemRecommended by Anna Olsson based on reviews by Arjen van Putten and Mona Giersberg
With the increasing use of cage-free housing systems for laying hens comes the challenge of monitoring the behaviour of individual hens in large enclosures where they can be not only on the floors but on different levels. The aim of the present study by Gebhardt-Henrich et al., (2023) was to validate a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) system with the capacity to track a large number of hens for different research and applied purposes where behaviour monitoring is relevant, such as heritability estimates for breeding programs.
In a housing system with 225 birds per pens, 26 antennae were placed at different locations. All birds in 5 pens were equipped with a glass tag in a custom-developed leg band. For validation purposes, the behaviour of three hens who could move between two pens was also monitored on video. Equipping these hens with colour-coded backpacks made them identifiable on video.
Matching the antennae detection of the focal birds with the behaviour observation showed that the antennae were able to detect a hen on the right tier in > 90% of cases, but that match on antenna level was lower.
The limitations of the system are also discussed in this concise methods paper that will be helpful to many researchers interested in tracking laying hens in loose housing systems.
Gebhardt-Henrich, S.G., Kashev, A., Petelle, M.B., Toscano, M.J., 2023. Validation of a Radio frequency identification system for tracking location of laying hens in a quasi-commercial aviary system. bioRxiv 2023.02.16.528820. ver. 3 peer-reviewed and recommended by Peer Community in Animal Science. https://doi.org/10.1101/2023.02.16.528820
|Validation of a Radio frequency identification system for tracking location of laying hens in a quasi-commercial aviary system||Sabine G. Gebhardt-Henrich, Alexander Kashev, Matthew B. Petelle, Michael J. Toscano||<p>Cage-free housing is increasingly chosen in Europe, North America, and Australia as an animal-welfare friendly farm system for laying hens. However, hens are kept in large numbers in those systems which makes checking for health and welfare dif...||Animal genetics, Animal welfare||Anna Olsson||2023-02-17 08:54:51||View|
28 Jan 2022
Microbial colonization of tannin-rich tropical plants: interplay between degradability, methane production and tannin disappearance in the rumenMoufida Rira, Diego P Morgavi, Milka Popova, Gaelle Maxin, Michel Doreau https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.08.12.456105
Ruminal microbial degradation of tannin-rich tropical plants and methane productionRecommended by Antonio Faciola based on reviews by Todd Callaway and Srinivasan Mahalingam
Rira et al. (2022) evaluated ruminal degradation of tropical tannins-rich plants and the relationship between condensed tannins disappearance and microbial communities. I found this study relevant because a major limitation for tropical plants utilization by ruminants is their potential reduced nutrient digestion. In this study, authors used leaves from Calliandra calothyrsus, Gliricidia sepium, and Leucaena leucocephala, pods from Acacia nilotica and the leaves of Manihot esculenta and Musa spp., which were incubated in situ in the rumen of dairy cows. An in vitro approach was also used to assess the effects of these plants on ruminal fermentation. They observed that hydrolysable and free condensed tannins from all plants completely disappeared after 24 h incubation in the rumen. Disappearance of protein-bound condensed tannins was variable with values ranging from 93% for Gliricidia sepium to 21% for Acacia nilolitica. This demonstrated some potential for selection and improvements in protein digestion. In contrast, fibre-bound condensed tannins disappearance averaged ~82% and did not vary between plants, which was remarkable. The authors noted that disappearance of bound fractions of condensed tannins was not associated with degradability of plant fractions and that the presence of tannins interfered with the microbial colonisation of plants. Each plant had distinct bacterial and archaeal communities after 3 and 12 h of incubation in the rumen and distinct protozoal communities at 3 h. This suggests a great deal of specificity for microbial-plant interactions, which warrants further evaluation to consider also animal contributions to such specificity. Adherent communities in tannin-rich plants had a lower relative abundance of fibrolytic microbes, notably Fibrobacter spp. Whereas, archaea diversity was reduced in high tannin-containing Calliandra calothyrsus and Acacia nilotica at 12 h of incubation. Concurrently, in vitro methane production was lower for Calliandra calothyrsus, Acacia nilotica and Leucaena leucocephala although for the latter total volatile fatty acids production was not affected and was similar to control. Finally, the study demonstrated that the total amount of hydrolysable and condensed tannins contained in a plant play a role governing the interaction with rumen microbes affecting degradability and fermentation. The effect of protein- and fibre-bound condensed tannins on degradability is less important. The major limitation of the study is the lack of animal validation at this stage; therefore, further studies are warranted, especially studies evaluating these plants in vivo. Furthermore, mechanisms associated with plant-microbial specificity, the role played by the host, and more data on nutrient utilization and gas production should be investigated. Nonetheless, this work show interesting microbial colonization and specific plant-microbial relationships that are novel in the ruminal environment.
Rira M, Morgavi DP, Popova M, Maxin G, Doreau M (2022). Microbial colonization of tannin-rich tropical plants: interplay between degradability, methane production and tannin disappearance in the rumen. bioRxiv, 2021.08.12.456105, ver. 3 peer-reviewed and recommended by Peer Community in Animal Science. https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.08.12.456105
|Microbial colonization of tannin-rich tropical plants: interplay between degradability, methane production and tannin disappearance in the rumen||Moufida Rira, Diego P Morgavi, Milka Popova, Gaelle Maxin, Michel Doreau||<p>Condensed tannins in plants are found free and attached to protein and fibre but it is not<br>known whether these fractions influence rumen degradation and microbial colonization.<br>This study explored the rumen degradation of tropical tannins...||Animal nutrition modelling, Cattle production, Emissions , Farming systems, Gut microbiology, Microbial ecology, Microbial fermentation, Rumen microbiology, Rumen microbiome , Ruminant nutrition||Antonio Faciola||2021-08-16 08:56:45||View|
07 Feb 2022
Resilience: reference measures based on longer-term consequences are needed to unlock the potential of precision livestock farming technologies for quantifying this traitFriggens, N. C., Adriaens, I., Boré, R., Cozzi, G., Jurquet, J., Kamphuis, C., Leiber, F., Lora, I., Sakowski, T., Statham, J. and De Haas, Y. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.5215797
Measuring resilience in farm animals: theoretical considerations and application to dairy cowsRecommended by Aurélien Madouasse based on reviews by Ian Colditz and 2 anonymous reviewers
Farm animals differ in their ability to respond to the many environmental challenges they face. Such challenges include infectious diseases, metabolic diseases resulting from inadequate coverage of dietary needs, as well as the diverse consequences of climate change. Various concepts exist to characterise the responses of animals to different types of challenges. This article by Friggens et al. (2022) focuses on resilience, providing a conceptual definition and proposing a method to quantify resilience in dairy cows.
The first part of the paper provides a definition of resilience and highlights its differences and relations with the related concepts of robustness, and, to a lesser extent, resistance and tolerance. In essence, resilience is the ability of an animal to bounce back quickly after a challenge of limited duration. On the other hand, robustness is the ability of an animal to cope with conditions that are overall unfavourable. From these conceptual and intuitive definitions, there are several difficulties precluding the design of concrete methods to measure resilience. First, there is some degree of overlap between the concepts of resilience, robustness, resistance and tolerance. Secondly, resilience is a multidimensional concept whereby resilience to a given perturbation does not imply resilience to other types of perturbation, e.g. resilience to a challenge by a specific pathogen does not imply resilience to a nutritional challenge. A further difficulty in the measure of resilience is the fact that different animals may be exposed to challenges that are different in nature and in number. The authors argue that although resilience cannot be measured directly (it should be seen as a latent construct), it is possible to quantify it indirectly through its consequences.
In the second part of the paper, the authors propose a method to quantify resilience of individual dairy cows. The method is based on the premise that resilient animals should be kept longer in their herd than non-resilient animals. The main criterion in the evaluation is therefore the ability of cows to re-calve. Each cow that is calving receives a certain number of points, to which, in each lactation, bonus points are added for higher milk production and penalty points are removed for each insemination after the first one, for each disease event and for each day of calving interval above some herd specific value. Therefore, cows have a resilience score in each lactation. They also have a lifetime resilience score obtained by summing the scores for all the lactations, that gets bigger as the cow has more calves, and that also takes the age at first calving into account. In a previous study, Adriaens et al. (2020) showed that higher resilience scores were associated with fewer drops in milk yield and more stable activity dynamics.
Starting from theoretical considerations on the notion of resilience, this paper describes a concrete method to quantify animal-level resilience on farm. Such quantification will be useful for breeding and culling decisions. Finally, the general framework to design resilience measures that is presented will be useful to researchers working on the quantification of farm animal resilience using new methods and data sources.
Adriaens I, Friggens NC, Ouweltjes W, Scott H, Aernouts B and Statham J 2020. Productive life span and resilience rank can be predicted from on-farm first-parity sensor time series but not using a common equation, across farms. Journal of Dairy Science 103, 7155-7171.https://doi.org/10.3168/jds.2019-17826
Friggens, N.C. , Adriaens, I., Boré, R., Cozzi, G., Jurquet, J., Kamphuis, C., Leiber, F., Lora, I., Sakowski, T., Statham, J., De Haas, Y. (2022). Resilience: reference measures based on longer-term consequences are needed to unlock the potential of precision livestock farming technologies for quantifying this trait. Zenodo, 5215797, ver. 5 peer-reviewed and recommended by Peer community in Animal Science. https://dx.doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.5215797
|Resilience: reference measures based on longer-term consequences are needed to unlock the potential of precision livestock farming technologies for quantifying this trait||Friggens, N. C., Adriaens, I., Boré, R., Cozzi, G., Jurquet, J., Kamphuis, C., Leiber, F., Lora, I., Sakowski, T., Statham, J. and De Haas, Y.||<p style="text-align: justify;">Climate change, with its increasing frequency of environmental disturbances puts pressures on the livestock sector. To deal with these pressures, more complex traits such as resilience must be considered in our mana...||Precision livestock farming||Aurélien Madouasse||2021-08-20 15:34:13||View|
01 Sep 2022
Detecting dairy cows' lying behaviour using noisy 3D ultrawide band positioning dataI. Adriaens, W. Ouweltjes, M. Pastell, E. Ellen, C. Kamphuis https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.6627251
A novel method to monitor lying behaviour of dairy cows by combining noisy spatial positioning data, time-series segmentation based on statistical changepoints and machine learning classification algorithmRecommended by Eliel Gonzalez-Garcia based on reviews by Kareemah Chopra and John Fredy Ramirez Agudelo
Using on-farm sensors in dairy farming is known to help decision makings and farmer objectives in the monitoring and potential improvement of animal behaviour, health and production performance. However, in indoor positioning systems, data interpretation is complicated by the inaccuracy and noise in the time series, missing data caused not only by sensor failure or the harsh and changing farm environments in which they operate, but also by the animals' specific physiology itself. Thus, working with spatial data has proven challenging mainly due to their enormous heteroscedasticity, which depends on multiple factors such as the cow, the time of the day, the behaviour, factors interfering with the sensor system, etc., for which we cannot account mathematically. Applying purely black-box approaches generally results in insufficient robustness, interpretability and generalisability.
With this work, Adriaens et al. (2022) developed a relatively simple and new methodology to monitor the lying behaviour of dairy cows by using noisy spatial positioning data, while combining time-series segmentation based on statistical changepoints and a machine learning classification algorithm. The two-step methodology identifies lying behaviour using an ultra-wide band indoor positioning system. Getting-up or lying-down events were indicated by the accelerometers. Overall classification and lying behaviour prediction performance was above 91% in independent test sets, with a very high consistency across cow-days. The robustness of the algorithm was demonstrated by the fact that both the cow identity-based split and the time-based split performed equally well.
The article represents an original contribution for advancing the state of the art in the automated quantification of lying behaviour in dairy cows, aiming to monitor health or animal welfare issues. Future research must be considered however to validate the performance of the model when using different position-measuring technologies, in other farm settings and over a longer period of time.
Adriaens I, Ouweltjes W, Pastell M, Ellen E, Kamphuis C. 2022. Detecting dairy cows' lying behaviour using noisy 3D ultra-wide band positioning data. Zenodo, 6627251, ver. 3 peer-reviewed and recommended by Peer Community in Animal Science. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.6627251
|Detecting dairy cows' lying behaviour using noisy 3D ultrawide band positioning data||I. Adriaens, W. Ouweltjes, M. Pastell, E. Ellen, C. Kamphuis||<p>In precision livestock farming, technology-based solutions are used to monitor and manage<br>livestock and support decisions based on on-farm available data. In this study, we developed<br>a methodology to monitor the lying behaviour of dairy c...||Animal behaviour , Mathematical modelling, Precision livestock farming||Eliel Gonzalez-Garcia||2022-02-28 18:19:37||View|
15 Dec 2020
Accuracy of predicting chemical body composition of growing pigs using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometryClaudia Kasper, Patrick Schlegel, Isabel Ruiz-Ascacibar, Peter Stoll, Giuseppe Bee https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.09.15.286153
Accurate predictions of chemical composition of pigs for a wide range of body weights: no longer a myth!Recommended by Florence Gondret based on reviews by Mathieu Monziols and 1 anonymous reviewer
Assessing body or carcass composition in growing pigs is essential to refine nutritional models, select for specific traits and evaluate pork products. The gold standard methods are dissection and chemical measurements, which are time-consuming and invasive ways to obtain the data. Different teams have tested dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA), especially for determining total and regional body composition of fat, soft lean tissues and bone minerals [1-3]. The DEXA measurements are quick, non-invasive, precise, and operator independent. However, the instruments from different manufacturers are unique in implementation so that it is difficult to obtain and share generalized equations. In addition, the validity and accuracy of the measures when applied to pigs having very different composition have been scarcely addressed.
The present manuscript shows that carcass analysis by DEXA can be used to predict empty body chemical composition, and it provides accuracy values for the content in single nutrients (protein, lipids, Ca, P). The body weight range used to generate differences in body composition is very large (20 to 100 kg), which is important when studying pigs along growth. Moreover, regression equations within weight classes (20, 60 and 100 kg) show no important biases, with the exception for body fat especially at the earliest growth stages. Limitations of the technique are the needs of anesthesia when applied to living pigs, and of standardizing the positions of body, carcass and cuts when applied to living or dissected pigs. Another originality of the manuscript is the comparison of the obtained calibrations with previously published prediction models, showing that the differences do not preclude the possibility to use a single model when built from a meta-analysis of the different data. Taken together, this work offers good perspectives to refine nutritional models by inputs from rapidly analyzed body chemical composition and to monitor body and carcass composition in several pigs for genetics applications.
 Mitchell AD., Scholz AM., Pursel VG., and Evock-Clover CM. (1998). Composition analysis of pork carcasses by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry. Journal of Animal Science. 76(8), 2104-14. https://doi.org/10.2527/1998.7682104x
 Marcoux M., Bernier JF., and Pomar C. (2003). Estimation of Canadian and European lean yields and composition of pig carcasses by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Meat Science. 63(3), 359-65. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0309-1740(02)00094-3
 Kipper M., Marcoux M., Andretta I., and Pomar C. (2018). Repeatability and reproducibility of measurements obtained by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry on pig carcasses. Journal of Animal Science, 96(5), 2027-2037. https://doi.org/10.1093/jas/skx046 "
|Accuracy of predicting chemical body composition of growing pigs using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry||Claudia Kasper, Patrick Schlegel, Isabel Ruiz-Ascacibar, Peter Stoll, Giuseppe Bee||<p>Studies in animal science assessing nutrient and energy efficiency or determining nutrient requirements necessitate gathering exact measurements of body composition or body nutrient contents. Wet chemical analysis methods or standardized dissec...||Agricultural sustainability, Animal nutrition modelling, Monogastrics, Physiology, Pig nutrition||Florence Gondret||2020-09-17 10:44:58||View|
10 Aug 2022
Decreasing the level of hemicelluloses in sow's lactation diet affects the milk composition and post-weaning performance of low birthweight piglets.Francesco Palumbo, Giuseppe Bee, Paolo Trevisi, Marion Girard https://doi.org/10.31220/agriRxiv.2022.00116
Varying the hemicellulose content in the diet of lactating sows highlights the importance of early-life interventions for improving health and performance of small piglets during the post-weaning periodRecommended by Florence Gondret based on reviews by Hélène Quesnel and Myriam Grundy
One of the key questions in pig industry nowadays is how health and performance of piglets can be improved by sow nutrition and milk composition. The levels of dietary fibers in sow’s gestation diet have positive effects observed on the litters. However, the composition of dietary fibers and the organization of polysaccharides within the cell wall in the different plants determine their physicochemical properties and, thereby, their behaviour in the gut of the sows and the subsequent physiological response of the animals. Hemicelluloses are polysaccharides constituents of the cell walls of plants, which are fermented in the gut to produce volatile fatty acids (VFA). These VFA can serve as energy source for milk synthesis and can thereby influence the development of suckling piglets. Palumbo and colleagues (1) proposed an original experimental design to compare diets with similar fiber contents but different hemicellulose levels, thanks to varying the sources of fibers used in the dietary formulations. Effects were studied on performance and health of lactating sows and their piglets during suckling period and until post-weaning. The dietary treatments had no effect on the total number of piglets weaned and, consequently, on litter weight at weaning. Milk yield was not influenced by the dietary treatments, but milk composition (lactose content, copper and threonine proportions) was affected by the level of hemicellulose in the maternal diets. With a decreasing hemicellulose level in sow diet, milk lactose content linearly decreased, whereas the copper and threonine contents linearly increased. There was no effect on piglet performance during the lactation period. During the second week of post-weaning, a quadratic increase in the incidence of diarrhoea and the number of days with diarrhoea for suckling piglets was observed with decreasing hemicellulose level in diet. Interestingly, the observed effects were partly different for piglets born with a low body weight. Indeed, there was a linear decrease in the incidence of diarrhoea and days with diarrhoea with decreased hemicellulose level in the maternal diet for those piglets, together with increased growth performance from birth to two weeks post-weaning. The authors postulated that the improved growth performance and the lower incidence of diarrhoea observed in small piglets during post-weaning period may be related to the increased abundance of threonine and copper and increased concentration of total VFA in milk of sows fed a diet with reduced hemicellulose levels. This study confirms the importance of early-life interventions to improve the post-weaning development and health of this sub-population of piglets.
(1) Palumbo F, Bee G, Trevisi P, and Girard M. (2022). Decreasing the level of hemicelluloses in sow's lactation diet affects the milk composition and post-weaning performance of low birthweight piglets. agriRxiv 2022.00116, ver 4 (R3), peer-reviewed and recommended by PCI Animal Science. https://doi.org/10.31220/agriRxiv.2022.00116
|Decreasing the level of hemicelluloses in sow's lactation diet affects the milk composition and post-weaning performance of low birthweight piglets.||Francesco Palumbo, Giuseppe Bee, Paolo Trevisi, Marion Girard||<p>Hemicelluloses (HC) are polysaccharides constituents of the cell walls of plants. They are fermented in the gut to produce volatile fatty acids (VFA). The present study investigated the effects of decreasing HC level in sow's lactation diet on ...||Pig nutrition||Florence Gondret||2022-01-21 12:00:22||View|
05 Jul 2022
Impact of pre-breeding feeding practices on rabbit mammary gland development at mid-pregnancy.Cathy Hue-Beauvais, Karine Bebin, Raphael Robert, Delphine Gardan-Salmon, Mickael Maupin, Nicolas Brun, Etienne Aujean, Florence Jaffrezic, Steve Simon, Madia Charlier, Fabienne Le Provost https://doi.org/10.1101/2022.01.17.476562
Managing the feeding of rabbits to improve metabolic efficiencyRecommended by Giuseppe Conte based on reviews by Marion Boutinaud, Davi Savietto and 1 anonymous reviewer
A correct execution of feeding plan for growing rabbit decreases the possibility of post-weaning digestive disorders, thus enhancing the feed efficiency in the animals. However, a limitation of feed daily quantity is required between 10 weeks of age and the first artificial insemination. This limitation causes energy deficiency with a consequent reduction in fertility. Beauvais et al. (2022) studied the impact of feed restriction strategies in female rabbits. Four feed restriction strategies were applied in two distinct periods (post-weaning and puberty) and evaluated by different physiological parameters (growth rate, metabolic profiles, reproductive parameters and mammary gland development). In the first part of the paper, the authors evaluated the association between weight slopes and feeding strategies in the late post-weaning and peripartum period in the four groups. As revealed by the authors, a significant difference was observed during the late post-weaning period, which remained significant between the pubertal and fattening phases. Probably these differences are related to the restriction feeding pattern. The results indicated that restrictive feeding changes in the first step of post-weaning period is associated with a significant difference in body weight. This difference occurs from the third week of diet, highlighting the high sensitivity of growing rabbit to nutrition during the post-weaning period.
In the second part of the paper, the authors evaluated the expression of genes involved in the lipid metabolism. During the mid-pregnancy, was revealed a significant higher expression of lipogenic genes, which may be considered as useful markers for the mammary epithelial development in less restrictive strategies during early life period.
The results proposed by Beauvais et al. (2022) enlighten the important role played by the feeding conditions of young female rabbits in the early life rearing. In particular, this activity provides specific recommendations for optimizing lactation and thus preventing neonatal mortality of the offspring. Moreover, the authors provide indications about the effect of feeding strategies on the mammary development and gene expression with absolute consequences on the development of offspring. Mammary lipid metabolism affects the milk profile and therefore the growth performance of the young animals.
Hue-Beauvais C, Bebin K, Robert R, Gardan-Salmon D, Maupin M, Brun N, Aujean E, Jaffrezic F, Simon S, Charlier M, Le Provost F (2022). Impact of pre-breeding feeding practices on rabbit mammary gland development at mid-pregnancy. biorXiv, 2022.01.17.476562, ver. 3 peer-reviewed and recommended by Peer Community in Animal Science. https://doi.org/10.1101/2022.01.17.476562
|Impact of pre-breeding feeding practices on rabbit mammary gland development at mid-pregnancy.||Cathy Hue-Beauvais, Karine Bebin, Raphael Robert, Delphine Gardan-Salmon, Mickael Maupin, Nicolas Brun, Etienne Aujean, Florence Jaffrezic, Steve Simon, Madia Charlier, Fabienne Le Provost||<p>Optimizing rabbit does preparation during early life to improve reproductive potential is a major challenge for breeders. Does selected for reproduction have specific nutritional needs, which may not be supplied with the common practice of feed...||Animal nutrition modelling||Giuseppe Conte||2022-01-19 14:44:30||View|
09 Apr 2022
The impact of housing conditions on porcine mesenchymal stromal/stem cell populations differ between adipose tissue and skeletal muscleAudrey Quéméner, Frédéric Dessauge, Marie-Hélène Perruchot, Nathalie Le Floc’h, Isabelle Louveau https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.06.08.447546
Housing conditions affect cell populations in adipose and muscle tissues of pigsRecommended by Hervé Acloque based on reviews by 2 anonymous reviewers
The adaptability of livestock to changing environments is based in particular on their genetic characteristics but also on the farming conditions to which they are subjected. However, this last point is poorly documented and little is known about its contribution to environmental challenges. The study by Quéméner and colleagues  addresses this question by assessing the effect of two hygiene conditions (good vs poor) on the distribution of cell populations present in adipose and muscle tissues of pigs divergently selected for feed efficiency .
The working hypothesis is that degraded housing conditions would be at the origin of an hyper stimulation of the immune system that can influence the homeostasis of adipose tissue and skeletal muscle and consequently modulate the cellular content of these tissues. Cellular compositions are thus interesting intermediate phenotypes for quantifying complex traits. The study uses pigs divergently selected for residual feed intake (RFI+ and RFI-) to assess whether there is a genetic effect associated with the observed phenotypes.
The study characterized different stromal cell populations based on the expression of surface markers: CD45 to separate hematopoietic lineages and markers associated with the stem properties of mesenchymal cells: CD56, CD34, CD38 and CD140a. The authors observed that certain subpopulations are differentially enriched according to the hygiene condition (good vs poor) in adipose and skeletal tissue (CD45-CD56-) sometimes with an associated (genetic) lineage effect. This pioneering study validates a number of tools for characterizing cell subpopulations present in porcine adipose and muscle tissue. It confirms that housing conditions can have an effect on intermediate phenotypes such as intra-tissue cell populations. This pioneering work will pave the way to better understand the effects of livestock systems on tissue biology and animal phenotypes and to characterize the nature and function of progenitor cells present in muscle and adipose tissue.
 Quéméner A, Dessauge F, Perruchot MH, Le Floc’h N, Louveau I. 2022. The impact of housing conditions on porcine mesenchymal stromal/stem cell populations differ between adipose tissue and skeletal muscle. bioRxiv 2021.06.08.447546, ver. 3 peer-reviewed and recommended by Peer Community in Animal Science. https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.06.08.447546
 Gilbert H, Bidanel J-P, Gruand J, Caritez J-C, Billon Y, Guillouet P, Lagant H, Noblet J, Sellier P. 2007. Genetic parameters for residual feed intake in growing pigs, with emphasis on genetic relationships with carcass and meat quality traits. Journal of Animal Science 85:3182–3188. https://doi.org/10.2527/jas.2006-590.
|The impact of housing conditions on porcine mesenchymal stromal/stem cell populations differ between adipose tissue and skeletal muscle||Audrey Quéméner, Frédéric Dessauge, Marie-Hélène Perruchot, Nathalie Le Floc’h, Isabelle Louveau||<p><strong>Background.</strong> In pigs, the ratio between lean mass and fat mass in the carcass determines production efficiency and is strongly influenced by the number and size of cells in tissues. During growth, the increase in the number of c...||Monogastrics, Physiology, Veterinary science||Hervé Acloque||2021-06-08 17:34:54||View|
23 Aug 2023
Ensuring ethical animal welfare research: Are more ethics review committees the solution?Birte L. Nielsen, Huw D.R. Golledge, Jen-Yun Chou, Irene Camerlink, Péter Pongrácz, Maria Camila Ceballos, Alexandra L. Whittaker and I. Anna S. Olsson https://www.doi.org/10.31219/osf.io/s6459
Can a consensus be reached on the ethical review of animal experimentation for livestock species?Recommended by Hervé Acloque based on reviews by Christian Nawroth, Patrick Gonin and Leon borgdorf
"Ensuring ethical animal welfare research: Are more ethics review committees the solution?" by Birte Nielsen and colleagues  provides food for thought on the ethical assessment of experiments involving farm animals. While regulations can provide a precise framework, they differ from country to country and do not consider several cases, mainly when the experimentation involves non- or minimally invasive manipulations. It is also the case when research projects use farmed animals that do not fall within the scope of the regulations on animal experimentation but have undergone practices that can be authorised on farms but may raise ethical questions (tail docking, live castration, tooth filing, beak trimming, dehorning). On the other hand, the heterogeneity of the criteria taken into account by the ethics committees, when they exist (and this can differ greatly from one country to another), do not necessarily correspond to the criteria of the journals, the reviewers and the bodies brought in to evaluate the research project, or to the regulations specific to each country.
All these paradoxes lead the authors to propose solutions, the most straightforward and spontaneous of which is to ask ourselves questions about this issue upstream of the experimental design required to answer a given scientific question. While increasing the number of ethical review committees may be an insufficient option, the authors insist on the importance of improving committee members' training, taking into consideration jurisdictions' differences between countries and spending more time on ethics evaluation during manuscripts' reviewing. In addition, the upstream assessment of research projects by ethics committees, specific to an institution (research institute, universities, companies), a scientific publisher or even a dedicated international ethical review board may also be a good option.
The ethical evaluation of research projects is a question at the heart of our research activities, for which we do not have all the answers. As with scientific reviewing, we must take on the role of evaluator or be evaluated ourselves, using criteria and feelings that are not always consensual. The heterogeneity of evaluation systems within the scientific community, the lack of training for scientists in the fundamentals of ethical evaluation, and the different perceptions of the animal condition between countries and cultures can lead to a reciprocal lack of understanding between evaluator and evaluated, and sometimes a feeling of injustice, as some research may be easy to conduct in one country but difficult in another. Indeed, it is exciting to read the exchanges between the authors and the three reviewers who assessed this opinion paper to appreciate the diversity of points of view and see specific points of divergence.
In addition to animal experimentation, the judgment handed down on 30 June 2023 by the French court penalising a pig farmer for the abusive use of an authorised breeding practice (tail docking) is a perfect illustration of the fact that the ethical assessment of practices and handling of farm animals now extends far beyond the scientific world and is becoming an increasingly important factor in the relationship between society and animal breeding. Failure to consider this evolution, whether in experimentation or animal husbandry, may have legal consequences and increase the lack of understanding between our practices and how society perceives them. The questions raised and the solutions proposed in the article by Nielsen et al. are central to our concerns, not only for the scientific community but also to meet the expectations of all stakeholders.
Finally, although the authors do not directly address the question of genome editing and research using edited farm animals, this is and will be at the heart of future issues concerning the ethical evaluation of research projects. As with practices and manipulations, the intentionality of the modifications induced leads us to question and evaluate, in farmed species, their consequences on animal welfare and their relevance to society and the development of more sustainable and socially accepted animal husbandry.
 Nielsen, B. L., Golledge, H. D. R., Chou, J., Camerlink, I., Pongrácz, P., Ceballos, M., Whittaker, A. L., Olsson, I. S. (2023) Ensuring ethical animal welfare research: Are more ethics review committees the solution? OSF Preprints. Ver. 3 peer-reviewed and recommended by Peer Community in Animal Science. https://doi.org/10.31219/osf.io/s6459
|Ensuring ethical animal welfare research: Are more ethics review committees the solution?||Birte L. Nielsen, Huw D.R. Golledge, Jen-Yun Chou, Irene Camerlink, Péter Pongrácz, Maria Camila Ceballos, Alexandra L. Whittaker and I. Anna S. Olsson||<p>As the article is a short Opinion Paper, it has no abstract, but it aims to highlight the inherent challenges to ethics review of animal (welfare) science research, especially the differences between different countries and jurisdictions which ...||Animal behaviour , Animal welfare, Open science, Veterinary science||Hervé Acloque||2023-05-05 13:27:22||View|