Assessing the external validity of successive negative contrast – implications for animal welfare

Ellis, Sarah and Riemer, Stefanie and Thompson, Hannah and Burman, Oliver (2019) Assessing the external validity of successive negative contrast – implications for animal welfare. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science . ISSN 1088-8705

Full content URL: https://doi.org/10.1080/10888705.2019.1572509

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Assessing the external validity of successive negative contrast – implications for animal welfare
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Abstract

When unexpectedly switched from a preferred to a less preferred food reward, non-human animals may decrease consumption below that when only receiving the less preferred reward - a successive negative contrast (SNC) effect. SNC has been proposed as an indicator of animal welfare, however, to be an effective measure it should show external validity; by being demonstrable outside of highly standardised laboratory settings. We therefore investigated whether the SNC effect typically shown in laboratory rats could be observed in owned (pet) rats from heterogeneous non-laboratory environments. Subjects (N=14) were tested in a consummatory SNC paradigm with solid food rewards. Rats in the ‘shifted’ group received a high-value reward for ten days (pre-shift), a low-value reward for six days (post-shift), then one additional day of high-value reward (re-shift). Rats in the ‘unshifted’ group always received the same low-value reward. ‘Shifted’ rats consumed more food during pre-shift and re-shift trials, but ate significantly less of the low-value food than ‘unshifted’ animals in the post-shift trials – a SNC effect. This confirms the external validity of the SNC paradigm, extending reproducibility to outside the laboratory, indicating that it can translate across contexts, thus enhancing its potential use as a welfare indicator.

Keywords:Animal Welfare
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C300 Zoology
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
ID Code:35260
Deposited On:11 Apr 2019 07:59

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