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Dernière mise à jour : Mai 2018

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Emotional reactivity in the quail : an integrated approach to animal welfare

INRA Prod. Anim., 21(1), 71-78.

S. RICHARD ¹, C. ARNOULD ¹, D. GUÉMENÉ ², C. LETERRIER ¹, S. MIGNON-GRASTEAU ², J.-M. FAURE ²

1 INRA, CNRS, Université de Tours, Haras Nationaux, UMR85 Physiologie de la Reproduction et des Comportements, F-37380 Nouzilly, France
2 INRA, UR83 Recherches Avicoles, F-37380 Nouzilly, France

Abstract 

In farm animals, emotional reactions such as fear behaviour may be inadequate and may compromise animal welfare. Two programmes ofdivergent genetic selection in the Japanese quail have demonstrated the feasibility of selection on components of emotional reactivity: fearbehaviour on the one hand and social reinstatement behaviour on the other hand. Divergent selection of the quail on a fear behaviour traithas been accompanied by differences in general fearfulness, meat quality, hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis reactivity, autonomic nervoussystem activity and central nervous system characteristics. A region of the genome has been identified as being potentially involved inthe observed differences. The second selection programme has shown that the quail selected for low social reinstatement behaviour is moreindifferent to their social environment than the quail selected for high social reinstatement behaviour. These quail lines constitute a powerfultool to study the mechanisms of emotional reactivity in birds. The aims of the multidisciplinary work being currently carried out onthese quail are to assess the consequences of these selection programmes, not only in terms of animal welfare but also in terms of animalproduction, and to identify welfare indicators that may be used to compare different farming practices in poultry production.

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