Agonistic behavior in food animals: review of research and techniques.

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One type of social behavior--agonistic behavior--is commonly observed among food animals. Agonistic behaviors are those behaviors which cause, threaten to cause or seek to reduce physical damage. Agonistic behavior is comprised of threats, aggression and submission. While any one of these divisions of agonistic behavior may be observed alone, they usually are found, in sequence, from the start to the end of an interaction. Food animals may show interspecific or intraspecific agonistic behaviors. Interspecific agonistic behavior has not been extensively studied but it is agriculturally important because farm workers may become injured or killed by aggressive food animals. Types of intraspecific agonistic behavior are: when animals are brought together, intermale fighting, resource defense, inter-gender fighting and aberrant aggression. Common pitfalls in research on agonistic behavior among food animals include too few replicates to detect a biological difference, the assumptions of the analysis are not met, only aggression and not submission or other agonistic behavior components are measured, incomplete description of the behaviors are reported and a complete, quantitive ethogram did not form the basis for selecting behavioral measures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1130-1139
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1986


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