Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 506059
Title Animal behavior and well-being symposium : Interaction between coping style/personality, stress, and welfare: Relevance for domestic farm animals
Author(s) Koolhaas, J.M.; Reenen, C.G. van
Source Journal of Animal Science 94 (2016)6. - ISSN 0021-8812 - p. 2284 - 2296.
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.2527/jas.2015-0125
Department(s) LR - Animal Behaviour & Welfare
WIAS
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2016
Keyword(s) Coping style - Domestic farm animals - Fitness - Stress - Temperament - Welfare
Abstract

This paper will argue that understanding animal welfare and the individual vulnerability to stress-related disease requires a fundamental understanding of functional individual variation as it occurs in nature as well as the underlying neurobiology and neuroendocrinology. Ecological studies in feral populations of mice, fish, and birds start to recognize the functional significance of phenotypes that individually differ in their behavioral and neuroendocrine response to environmental challenge. Recent studies indicate that the individual variation within a species may buffer the species for strong fluctuations in the natural habitat. Similarly, evolutionary ancient behavioral trait characteristics have now been identified in a range of domestic farm animals including cattle, pigs, and horses. Individual variation in behavior can be summarized in a 3-dimensional model with coping style, emotionality, and sociality as independent dimensions. These dimensions can be considered trait characteristics that are stable over time and across situations within the individual. This conceptual model has several consequences. First, the coping style dimension is strongly associated with differential stress vulnerability. Social stress studies show that proactive individuals are resilient under stable environmental conditions but vulnerable when outcome expectancies are violated. Reactive individuals are, in fact, rather flexible and seem to adapt more easily to a changing environment. A second consequence relates to genetics and breeding. Genetic selection for one trait usually implies selection for other traits as well. It is discussed that a more balanced breeding program that takes into account biologically functional temperamental traits will lead to more robust domestic farm animals. Finally, the relationship between temperamental traits, animal production, fitness, and welfare is discussed.

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