The present study was aimed to assess the relationship among stockperson behaviour and buffalo behaviour. The research was carried out in 17 buffalo farms located in southern Italy. Observations were conducted by two trained assessors. Human–animal relationship was assessed performing two different tests: behavioural observations of stockperson and animals during milking and avoidance distance at the manger. These tests were repeated within one month to assess test–retest reliability. Stockpeople attitude was also evaluated using a questionnaire divided into four sections (general beliefs about buffaloes, general beliefs about working with buffaloes, behavioural intentions with respect to interacting with buffaloes and job satisfaction) including 21 statements. A high degree of test–retest reliability was observed for all the variables concerning the behaviour of stockperson and animals. The values of coefficients (Spearman rank correlation coefficient: rs)) ranged from 0.587 (P<0.01) for the number of kicks performed by the animals during milking to 0.943 (P<0.0001) for the percentage of animals that can be touched at the manger. A negative correlation between job satisfaction of stockpeople and number of steps performed by the animals during milking was found (rs=-0.508, P<0.05). The lack of further significant correlations between the questionnaire scores and the behaviour of stockpeople and animals may be due to low number of statements included in the questionnaire or to false answers given by stockpeople. Positive stockperson interactions both in absolute number and in percentage terms negatively correlated with the number of kicks during milking (rs=-0.564 and rs=-0.615, P<0.01; respectively) and the percentage of animals treated with oxytocin (rs=-0.529 and rs=-0.671, P<0.01; respectively). Conversely, negative stockperson interactions both in absolute number and in percentage terms were positively correlated with the number of kicks during milking (rs=0.676 and rs=0.585, P<0.01; respectively) and mean avoidance distance at manger (rs=0.525 and rs=0.507, P<0.05; respectively). The present study showed that test-retest reliability of the variables used to assess human-animal relationship in buffalo was high. In addition, distance at manger is suitable for the assessment of the quality of human-animal relationship in buffalo as it is less time consuming than the observation of the behaviour performed by stockpeople and animals during milking.

Assessment of human-animal relationship in dairy buffaloes

DE ROSA, GIUSEPPE;GRASSO, FERNANDO;MASUCCI, FELICIA;
2014

Abstract

The present study was aimed to assess the relationship among stockperson behaviour and buffalo behaviour. The research was carried out in 17 buffalo farms located in southern Italy. Observations were conducted by two trained assessors. Human–animal relationship was assessed performing two different tests: behavioural observations of stockperson and animals during milking and avoidance distance at the manger. These tests were repeated within one month to assess test–retest reliability. Stockpeople attitude was also evaluated using a questionnaire divided into four sections (general beliefs about buffaloes, general beliefs about working with buffaloes, behavioural intentions with respect to interacting with buffaloes and job satisfaction) including 21 statements. A high degree of test–retest reliability was observed for all the variables concerning the behaviour of stockperson and animals. The values of coefficients (Spearman rank correlation coefficient: rs)) ranged from 0.587 (P<0.01) for the number of kicks performed by the animals during milking to 0.943 (P<0.0001) for the percentage of animals that can be touched at the manger. A negative correlation between job satisfaction of stockpeople and number of steps performed by the animals during milking was found (rs=-0.508, P<0.05). The lack of further significant correlations between the questionnaire scores and the behaviour of stockpeople and animals may be due to low number of statements included in the questionnaire or to false answers given by stockpeople. Positive stockperson interactions both in absolute number and in percentage terms negatively correlated with the number of kicks during milking (rs=-0.564 and rs=-0.615, P<0.01; respectively) and the percentage of animals treated with oxytocin (rs=-0.529 and rs=-0.671, P<0.01; respectively). Conversely, negative stockperson interactions both in absolute number and in percentage terms were positively correlated with the number of kicks during milking (rs=0.676 and rs=0.585, P<0.01; respectively) and mean avoidance distance at manger (rs=0.525 and rs=0.507, P<0.05; respectively). The present study showed that test-retest reliability of the variables used to assess human-animal relationship in buffalo was high. In addition, distance at manger is suitable for the assessment of the quality of human-animal relationship in buffalo as it is less time consuming than the observation of the behaviour performed by stockpeople and animals during milking.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11588/582796
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