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Summary: Animal Well-Being & Behavior Symposium

By: Anne Zinn

As the ASAS Annual Meeting continued through the afternoon of its third day, there were a wide variety of sessions for attendees to choose from, including beef reproduction, growth, and development, companion animals, meat protein alternatives, and more. The Animal Well-Being and Behavior Symposium focused on production animal welfare and featured an awards talk by Dr. Jay Johnson (USDA). Johnson, who was awarded the Early Career Achievement Award by ASAS, discussed improving swine heat stress resilience in order to optimize productivity and welfare in a changing climate. During this talk, he briefly introduced a new smart phone application, Hot Hog, which would provide real time information on heat stress to livestock managers. Johnson will be sharing more detailed information about Hot Hog during the Production, Management, and Environment Symposium on Wednesday, July 19.

The remainder of the session featured 15 minute presentations focused on research relating to animal well-being and behavior. Topics included the potential use of accelerometers to remotely direct bovine ephemeral fever in heifers, the use of computer vision to analyze beef cattle feeding behavior, how maternal stress influences dam and progeny cortisol, immune, and behavior in sows, and the ramifications of tail docking ewes on mating behavior and reproductive performance.