Animal welfare is a major concern in modern production systems, and recently, a framework for their inclusion in breeding objectives was proposed (Olesen et al. 2000). Despite evidence that animal behaviour is genetically controlled and can be modified by selection (Malmkvist and Hansen 2001) the possibility of improving animal welfare by selection is not generally considered an option. For example, Nimon and Broom (1999) concluded that no positive effects of selection in mink could be expected on temperament and adaptation. The behaviour of an animal is likely to be affected by both its own genotype, and by the phenotype and thus the genotype of its conspecifics (Moore et al. 1997), especially for traits, which are interactions between individuals. This results in interacting genotypes or indirect genetic effects (Moore et al. 1997), as an effect of the genotype of conspecifics on the phenotype of an animal. In mink conspecifics could be the dam and/or the other animal within a cage, as mink are normally reared two in a cage
Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume 2002. Session 14, , 14.02, 2002
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