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Reimeskog, Malin, 2020. Virtuella stängsel för getter (Capra hircus) : effekter på välfärden. First cycle, G2E. Uppsala: SLU, Dept. of Animal Environment and Health



There are currently about 20,000 goats in Sweden. In a survey on goat farming by the Swedish Board of Agriculture, it was discovered that goat farmers often
perceive the enclosure of goats as problematic. There is a growing interest in virtual fencing in Sweden, which offers a solution to fence off animals without the work of setting up physical fences. Instead, virtual fences use necklaces, which give a warning signal and electric shock when the animal approaches a virtual boarder. The necklaces are connected to GPS or a cable on the ground that determines the enclosure boundaries. NoFence is a virtual fence currently allowed for use on goats in Norway. The Swedish Board of Agriculture has taken part of two studies on NoFence but deemed that the studies did not meet the standard of animal welfare in Sweden. It is, at this time, not allowed to use electrical equipment to control animal behavior in Sweden, but the Swedish Board of Agriculture can provide exceptions to this law.

The focus of this literature study has been to investigate animal welfare aspects of virtual fencing for goats in order to provide a scientific basis for future assessments of the suitability of using virtual fencing systems in Sweden. Virtual fencing could offer a cost-effective alternative to physical fencing. It can also provide more effective land utilization by making it easier to move animals. However, there are problems with virtual fencing that must be considered, for example, that GPS-based systems often do not work flawlessly. The animals must also be able to learn the systems on an individual level, not just group level.

Studies on goats cognitive- and learning ability have been reviewed to see if goats have the capability to understand virtual fences. The studies have showed that goats have good ability for motor self-regulation and successfully can discriminate between similar visual symbols. It gives an indication that they have sufficient ability to function in virtual enclosures, but more studies are needed to see howtheir welfare would be affected over time.

This study found that goats at least have the ability to learn virtual fences where a visible cable delimits the enclosure. There is an indication that goats can adapt to virtual enclosures, but more studies are needed on how their welfare is affected. There is also need for more advanced GPS technology so that the animals will not receive inaccurate electric shocks.

Main title:Virtuella stängsel för getter (Capra hircus)
Subtitle:effekter på välfärden
Authors:Reimeskog, Malin
Supervisor:Wallenbeck, Anna
Examiner:Wichman, Anette
Volume/Sequential designation:UNSPECIFIED
Year of Publication:2020
Level and depth descriptor:First cycle, G2E
Student's programme affiliation:VK005 Ethology and Animal Welfare - Bachelor's Programme, 180.0hp
Supervising department:(VH) > Dept. of Animal Environment and Health
Keywords:get, Capra hircus, virtuella stängsel, osynliga stängsel, djurskydd, elektrisk utrustning, välfärd, associativ inlärning, djurhållning
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Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Animal husbandry
Deposited On:14 Jul 2020 12:58
Metadata Last Modified:15 Jul 2020 01:01

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