Browsing Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Life Sciences by Subjects
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Education and welfare in professional football academies and centres of excellence: A sociological studyA career as a professional footballer has long been regarded as a highly sought after occupation for many young males within the UK and, against this backdrop, since the 1970s increasing attention has come to be placed on the way young players are identified and developed within professional clubs. Particular concern has been expressed over the number of players who, having been developed by professional clubs, fail to secure a professional contract, and the ways in which clubs should help young players safeguard their futures through alternative career training. There, have, however, been very few studies that have analyzed the education and welfare provisions that are offered within professional football Academies and Centres of Excellence, and fewer still that have done this from a sociological perspective. By drawing upon the figurational sociology of Norbert Elias, concepts derived from symbolic interactionism, and existing work in the sociology of youth, the objective of this study is to examine the realities of young players' day-to-day working-lives, the experiences they have of the educational programmes they follow, and the welfare-related matters that arise within present-day Academies and CoE. Using data generated by self-completion questionnaires and focus groups with 303 players in 21 Academies and CoE in England and Wales, the findings of the study suggest that players continue to be socialized into a largely anti-academic culture that has traditionally underpinned the world of professional football, and in which the demonstration of a 'good attitude' and commitment to the more central members of players' interdependencies (especially coaches and managers) dominated all other concerns. Indeed, it was also clear that the deep-seated values players held in relation to the professional game as part of their individual and group habituses were shaped by the figurations into which they were born and had been developed during the more impressionable phases of childhood and youth. Players' welfare needs were significantly compromised by the strong degree of suspicion and obvious degree of mistrust that characterized their relationship with club management, which emanated from players' fears that confidential matters would always 'get back' to others inside the club. This was exacerbated, in almost all cases, by players' observations that they were treated as if they were 'bottom of the club' and whose welfare needs were not generally well understood by those working within Academies and CoE.
Effects of transportation, transport medium and re-housing on Xenopus laevis (Daudin)Understanding the immediate and longer-term effects of transportation and re-housing in a laboratory species is crucial in order to refine the transfer process, enable the optimal introduction of new animals to a novel environment and to provide a sufficient acclimatisation period before usage. Whilst consideration of animal welfare in most model vertebrate species has received attention, little quantitative evidence exists for the optimal care of the common laboratory amphibian Xenopus laevis. Techniques for the non-invasive welfare assessment of amphibians are also limited and here a non-invasive physiological assay was developed to investigate the impacts of transportation, transport medium and re-housing on X. laevis. First the impacts of transportation and transport medium (water, damp sponge or damp sphagnum moss) were investigated. Transportation caused an increase in waterborne corticosterone regardless of transport medium. Frogs transported in damp sphagnum moss also had a greater decrease in body mass in comparison to frogs not transported, suggesting that this is the least suitable transport medium for X. laevis. Next the prolonged impacts of transportation and re-housing were investigated. Frogs were transported between research facilities with different housing protocols. Samples were collected prior to and immediately following transportation, as well as 1 day, 7 days and 35 days after re-housing. Water-borne corticosterone increased following transportation and remained high for at least 7 days, decreasing to baseline levels by 35 days. Body mass decreased following transportation and remained lower than baseline levels across the entire 35 day observation period. These findings suggest the process of transportation and re-housing is stressful in this species. Together these findings have important relevance for both improving animal welfare and ensuring optimal and efficient scientific research.
Factors modifying welfare in captive lioned-tailed mazaques (Macaca silenus)The lion-tailed macaque (Macaca silenus) is endangered due to habitat destruction with less than 3500 individuals remaining in isolated fragments of South-West India. Lion-tailed macaques do not reproduce readily in captivity and captive breeding may be relied upon for future conservation. Poor welfare can have negative effects on reproduction so it is important that lion-tailed macaque welfare is examined in captive groups. The aims of this thesis were to understand certain aspects of lion-tailed macaque welfare (behaviour and HPA physiology) in captive populations, with the view to making suggestions for management to promote the species' welfare and reproduction. Behaviour (188 hours), urine (n=133) and faecal samples (n=294) were collected from 38 lion-tailed macaques housed in four groups at the North of England Zoological Society (Chester Zoo), Bristol Zoological Gardens, Assiniboine Park Zoo and San Diego Wild Animal Park. The study successfully developed and validated assays to detect cortisol in lion-tailed macaque urine and faeces. The assays were then subsequently used to explore behaviour and HPA activity in these endangered primates. The institution in which the individuals were housed and basic life history parameters (age and sex) were explored to further understand the interplay between behaviour and physiology. Social relationships were assessed by measuring proximity (inter-individual distances and time spent in "arms-reach"). Finally the effect of visitors on behaviour, HPA activity and enclosure use was explored. There was significant variation between institutions in behaviour and HPA activity but not proximity. The age of lion-tailed macaques modified their behaviour, but not their HPA activity or proximity. The sex of lion-tailed macaques did not modify behaviour, HPA activity or proximity. The effect of visitors on lion-tailed macaques in the current study is not clear and confirms previous research on the visitor effect on captive primates. It can be concluded from this research that lion-tailed macaques are sensitive to the environment in which they are housed, indicating factors which may have negative effects on their captive breeding rates and ability to cope with habitat fragmentation for population's in-situ. The study has highlighted the need for each captive and wild group of lion-tailed macaques to be considered and monitored separately with regard to welfare and breeding.
Individual, social, and environmental factors affecting salivary and fecal cortisol levels in captive pied tamarins (Saguinus bicolor)Pied tamarins (Saguinus bicolor) are endangered New World primates, and in captivity appear to be very susceptible to stress. We measured cortisol in 214 saliva samples from 36 tamarins and in 227 fecal samples from 27 tamarins, and investigated the effects of age, sex, pregnancy, rearing history, social status, weight, group composition, and enclosure type using generalized linear mixed models. There was no effect of age on either fecal or salivary cortisol levels. Female pied tamarins in late pregnancy had higher fecal cortisol levels than those in early pregnancy, or nonpregnant females, but there was no effect of pregnancy on salivary cortisol. Females had higher salivary cortisol levels than males, but there was no effect of rearing history. However, for fecal cortisol, there was an interaction between sex and rearing history. Hand‐reared tamarins overall had higher fecal cortisol levels, but while male parent‐reared tamarins had higher levels than females who were parent‐ reared, the reverse was true for hand‐reared individuals. There was a trend towards lower fecal cortisol levels in subordinate individuals, but no effect of status on salivary cortisol. Fecal but not salivary cortisol levels declined with increasing weight. We found little effect of group composition on cortisol levels in either saliva or feces, suggesting that as long as tamarins are housed socially, the nature of the group is of less importance. However, animals in off‐show enclosures had higher salivary and fecal cortisol levels than individuals housed on‐show. We suggest that large on‐show enclosures with permanent access to off‐exhibit areas may compensate for the effects of visitor disturbance, and a larger number of tamarins of the same species housed close together may explain the higher cortisol levels found in tamarins living in off‐show accommodation, but further research is needed.