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Equine gastric ulcer syndrome EGUS is reported in domesticated horses mainly involved in athletic endeavors. EGUS prevalence and severity have been correlated with the type of training and management practice. Common known risk factors have been identified in intense exercise, high grain-low roughage diet, water deprivation, fasting, hospitalization, and overdose of NSAIDs. In particular, excessive ingestion of carbohydrates causes a rapid proliferation of the hindgut gram-positive bacteria Streptococcus bovis and Streptococcus lutetiensis that lead to very acidic conditions with pH lower than 4.
Low pH in the large intestine causes the death and lysis of a large number of bacteria and the release of the toxic components which are absorbed from the gut into the bloodstream and may cause the development of laminitis [ 21 ]. A Horse—gastric ulcer due to improper nutrition. B Chicken—footpad dermatitis. C Chicken—ascites. D Sea bream Sparus aurata —peduncle mutilation caused by bite in overcrowding breeding conditions. E Sturgeon Acipenser spp. F Sturgeon Acipenser spp. Evidence of stress and opportunistic infections.
These management procedures lead to remarkable imbalances between the high potential productivity of birds as a result of the targeted genetic selection and their ability to physiologically adapt. These imbalances are frequently associated with homeostatic dysregulation and pathological changes of organs that supply the energy for production and maintenance liver and cardiovascular system or muscle tissue severely forced to obtain a fast weight increase. With regard to the microclimate alterations, heat stress is the most common physical environmental stressor that can lead to alterations in the intestinal epithelium integrity and microbiota composition with development of necrotic enteritis , hyperthermia, heat exhaustion, and death [ 22 , 23 ].
Multiple behavioral, physiological, and health issues, such as reduced feed consumption, neuroendocrine disorders, electrolyte imbalance, and systemic immune dysregulation, which in turn will negatively affect nutrient uptake and utilization, growth, and survival rate, are also frequently observed. Modern broiler hybrids seem to be particularly susceptible to heat stress, since the high body heat resulting from their great metabolic activity may exacerbate this phenomenon [ 23 ].
Management defects related to housing conditions and social interactions among animals are strictly related to each other. One of the most frequent welfare problems in broiler chickens is contact dermatitis i. It is also known as pododermatitis and represents a condition that is characterized by inflammation and necrotic lesions, ranging from superficial to deep on the plantar surface of the footpads and toes. Deep ulcers may also lead to abscesses and thickening of underlying tissues and structures.
Several environmental factors such as litter material, moisture depth and amendments, drinker design and management, and stocking density may influence FPD development. Indeed, a straw, wet, thin, and acidifier-added litter and small drinker cups and higher stocking densities have been reported to be associated with a greater incidence of FPD [ 24 ].
Development of feather-pecking has been associated with different causative factors, one of the most important being the inhibition of foraging behaviors such as ground-pecking or lack of environmental stimuli and lack of early life access to litter [ 25 ]. The selection procedures focused on a high growth rate may cause specific diseases of the energy-supplying organs in particular the intestine and the liver , as a result of the developing imbalances between oxygen supply and oxygen requirement.
In particular, fatty liver-hemorrhage syndrome FLHS is frequently observed in laying hens, while broiler chicken gut may show malabsorption syndrome [ 26 ]. High growth rates, as well as high body weights and low levels of activity, are also frequently associated with the development of lameness of various degrees of severity. Modern fast-growing strains may also present an increase in skeletal muscle myopathies, such as white striping and wooden breast. In turkeys, focal avascular or ischaemic necrosis osteochondrosis of articular cartilage, avulsion fractures and ligament damage at the intertarsal joint or femorotibial joints, and spontaneous fracture of the femur may also occur [ 21 ].
Finally, pulmonary arterial hypertension PAH, also known as ascites syndrome and pulmonary hypertension syndrome is one of the most common diseases observed worldwide in fast growing broilers Figure 4C. This disease can be attributed to the fast growth-related imbalances between cardiac output and the anatomical capacity of the pulmonary vasculature to accommodate ever-increasing rates of blood flow, as well as to an inappropriate degree of constriction maintained by the pulmonary arterioles.
Other common cardiovascular diseases associated with rapid growth are the sudden death syndrome SDS in broilers and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy HCM , spontaneous turkey cardiomyopathy STC , and aortic dissecting aneurysm in turkeys [ 22 ]. Fish class is the biggest and the most differentiated among vertebrates.
Fishes are adapted to different extreme situations as their evolutional success depends on their ability to thrive in a variable medium: water. Nowadays aquaculture is one of the more sustainable and economically favorable sources of animal protein.
Considering wild habitats, we must sentence that they are strongly impacted by human activity pollution, overfishing, and introduction of non-indigenous organisms , and this makes it difficult to define what is to be considered normal, not normal, or sub-normal for fishes in a specific situation. Moreover, the severity of a given disease is dependent on the intricate interaction of numerous variables of the host, the pathogen, and the environment, among which the environment is the less-known factor [ 28 ].
In addition, early signs of suffering in fishes are difficult to relate to a specific disease by inexperienced staff. Commonly, acute stressed fishes show color changes because the melanin pigmentation in skin is under neuroendocrine control in fish and it is thus affected by hormones such as epinephrine involved in the first step of stress reaction.
If a stress factor persists for a longer time, other hormones, such as cortisol, become dominant chronic stress. The chronic stress induces immunodeficiency that causes a higher incidence of opportunistic disease outbreaks. Despite the difficulties explained above, in the following section, we will focus on the main stress factors that can impact fish welfare. Among abiotic ambient factors, there are all the physical and chemical water parameters such as temperature, conductivity, salinity, turbidity, hardness, dissolved oxygen and other gasses, pH, ammonia and other nitrogen compounds, metals, pesticides, etc.
Fishes can handle an open range of variations for each parameter without showing recognizable signs of disease or suffering, thus accumulating chronic stress. Out of these ranges, water quality parameters can influence acute stress along with high mortality showing or not respiratory symptoms. More frequently, considering the synergistic effect of water-quality parameters, only subclinical evidences like a reduction of productivity and reproduction, dissimilarity of age classes for wild stocks , or a higher impact of some infectious agents or tumors if a carcinogenic pollutant is suspected can be noted [ 29 ].
Focusing on the farm self-pollution, due to organic wastewater and nitrogen compound discharge e. This acute gill disease is easily detected in fishes with an acute respiratory distress shown by a higher frequency of gill opercula movements. In fact, the low level of oxygen blood saturation causes a growth failure for the inability to optimally metabolize food nutrients.
The housing system in aquaculture management must take into consideration the different biology, ecology, and natural behaviors of individual fish species. The space, design, composition material for tanks, pools, basins and nets, water source, flow and change, lighting and photoperiod, etc.
An inappropriate housing system determines lower growth performances and a higher incidence of opportunistic diseases due to chronic stress [ 31 ]. The degree of social interaction among fishes, with the main critical point of the animal density, is different in extensive farming when compared to the intensive one: the first is closer to a wild condition while the second is richer of health-limiting conditions. In nature, high animal density happens only for short times i. Over-density causes traumatic lesions by bite skin erosion, ulcers, and body mutilation Figure 4D and fast deterioration of water-quality parameters.
Similar consequences can be observed as a result of husbandry practices , such as selection, artificial reproduction, handling, transport, and net confinement, especially if carried out without suitable tools or by unskilled workers Figure 4E.
Infections caused by opportunistic bacteria or fungi Oomycetes such as Flavobacterium spp. Sometimes, if fish density is high and the water quality and exchange low, parasites such as barnacles or motile ciliates can also provoke a massive outbreak with evident skin hemorrhages and erosions. At the same time, also common aquatic bacteria such as motile Aeromonas spp.
Regarding feeding, as fish are ectothermic, periods of food deprivation may be less detrimental than in endotherms. For this reason, temporary starvation prior to transport, treatment of disease, or any other kind of handling procedures is highly recommended to reduce physiological stress [ 27 ].
However, an inappropriate food composition or feeding procedure can generate gut problems like enteritis and size inhomogeneity in the fish stock [ 32 ]. But, is this always the case? This concept has created a lot of confusion in the years, on whether the artificial environment could really provide excellent welfare conditions, to be evaluated directly on each individual. Welfare indicators in fact, vary among and within species, and depend directly on human interests and uses of them.
This is particularly true for nondomestic species where individual case relevance is rare, fragmented, and often requiring comparison with their wild counterpart. For this reason, modern zoological institutions tend to mimic the irreplaceable wildlife observations and provide the animals with environmental resources extrapolated from previous ex situ experiences and consolidated in best practice guidelines [ 34 ].
Careful attention is paid to animal management processes , starting from animal acquisition and transport, quarantine and acclimation, and introduction into social group. Exhibits with multiple species must take into consideration social compatibility, both intra and interspecific. The density and distribution of most species should be compatible with the space provided, allowing the expression of natural behaviors and guaranteeing individual safety, thus avoiding undesired dominance and aggression [ 35 ].
For example, indoor air temperature, ventilation, and filtered aeration prevent transmission of respiratory pathogens Aspergillus spp. Appropriate lighting and photoperiod allow a natural circadian rhythm to regulate hormonal cycles, reproduction, and molt in most species [ 36 ]. Mechanical filtration removes particulate solid matters and the complex system of biological filtration avoids direct contact with all the toxic compounds originating from nitrogen life cycle.
Water temperature control is mandatory since it could literally limit survival of species originating from different climates. Inappropriate levels of pH, salinity, and hardness might lead to chronic stress or even death. Water disinfection and oxidation must be under strict control to avoid damages or losses from accidental increased redox potential, lethal for fish and invertebrates, and seriously damaging skin and eyes of aquatic reptiles and mammals [ 37 ].
Veterinary programs address general and specific issues such as nutrition, reproduction, and management of geriatric individuals. Unbalanced diets can lead, for example, to abnormal growth, gout, or hypovitaminosis , to even impossibility to thrive [ 35 ]. Wildlife is also strongly influenced by human impact on the environment, only from a different perspective. An increased food demand, an intensification, and mechanization in agriculture, including use of chemical products, led to a widespread decline in farmland biodiversity and remarkable change of landscapes and habitats.
In the European rice fields, the butterfly Lycaena dispar , an important environmental indicator, is in decline due to the massive use of herbicides; and similar events occurred in Japan as well [ 39 ]. They are involved in numerous processes but often ruined by the wrong perception that deadwood is a sign of neglected forest management. The effects of climate warming are recognized by everyone and lead to desertification in many countries, provoke unprecedented disastrous events, and affect ecosystems and species survival around the world, including our own.
Glaciers melting at an increasing speed directly affect polar bears Ursus maritimus and Arctic environment, leading to disappearance of their habitat and food resources. Invasive species became a very relevant problem [ 41 ]: the gray squirrel Sciurus carolinensis , introduced in the last century in Europe, is a threat to the native red squirrel S.
Gray squirrels compete for resources and, in Britain, are a reservoir for a virus highly pathogenic for red squirrel, inducing a disease-mediated competition between the species. Other countries could face the same problem in future: in Japan, S. The introduction of the popular American pet red-eared slider caused similar threats imposing major conservation activities to preserve the native European pond turtle [ 43 ].
Preys around lamps attract bats that also become more detectable by birds of prey. New road constructions are welcomed with enthusiasm, but they fragment habitats and represent insuperable dangerous barriers for crossing animals. Coexistence between domestic and wild species can spread transmissible diseases. Infectious keratoconjunctivitis originates from infected livestock and passes to alpine chamois Rupicapra rupicapra and alpine ibex Capra ibex that graze close to each other.
Another type of challenge is represented by the return of wolves in the Alps, since farmers do not tolerate their predation on livestock. The authorities promote preventive measures and compensation for the damage, but the conflict is strongly due.
Overexploitation of natural resources is a worldwide-recognized problem and animal collectors have a huge impact on biodiversity. Oriental medicine utilizes parts of wild animals tigers, rhinos, sharks, seahorses, etc. The indiscriminate fishing of the totoaba, a very popular fish, whose swim bladder represents an unremarkable black market value, has brought the small cetacean vaquita on the verge of extinction. Finally, in the last decades, humans developed new types of sports and touristic attractions with animal direct contact and experience.
As an example, ski mountaineering, a dangerous and exciting popular sport in the Alps, can be lethal for alpine animals, such as the black grouse Tetrao tetrix or rock ptarmigan Lagopus muta. A persistent stress condition may result in psychological and physiological pathology.
While it is clear that we have been the major cause of these dramatic changes, we are also growing a generalized protective conscience towards natural resources. A virtuous search for new technologies and alternative human behavioral changes is now mandatory to minimize our impact and foster our survival on this planet [ 45 , 46 ]. In this contest, animal welfare relates to more than merely the physical health of an individual.
Animal welfare means how an animal is coping with the conditions in which it lives [ 47 ]. An animal is in a good state of welfare if it is in an appropriate social context, healthy, comfortable, well nourished, safe, able to express innate behavior, and if it is not suffering from unpleasant states such as pain, fear, and distress. Good animal welfare requires disease prevention and veterinary treatment, appropriate shelter, management, nutrition, humane handling and, ultimately, humane slaughter.
In recent years, a great and growing attention is paid to the aspects of health and welfare of reared animal species. There is also growing concern for many consumers in Europe about farm animal welfare since it is becoming increasingly recognized as an important attribute of food safety and quality [ 48 , 49 ]. To enhance animal welfare, a first essential step is to help animals to cope with their environment. Two different approaches can be used: firstly we propose to adapt the environment to the animals by improving management practices and housing conditions.
This approach requires the active involvement of all stakeholders: veterinarians, behaviorists, animal scientists, the industrial farming sector, the food processing and supply chain, and consumers of animal-derived products. Also for zoo animals, as habitats and ecosystems become increasingly altered and populations evermore impacted by human activities, a growing number of species will require some form of management of both individuals and populations to ensure their survival.
Zoo and aquaria aim to fulfill this role. To conclude, considering the enormous number of animals whose life conditions are affected by human habits, all possible efforts can and must be made to improve their status in order to ban welfare-compromising procedures and practices as soon as possible. Licensee IntechOpen. This chapter is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.
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