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Editorial
Reducing the stress response of alpacas during shearing
  1. Giuseppe Piccione,
  2. Maria Rizzo and
  3. Claudia Giannetto
  1. Department of Veterinary Sciences, University of Messina, Messina, Italy e-mail: giuseppe.piccione@unime.it

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ALPACA shearing is a routine management practice in alpaca farming used to obtain the animal's fleece, but it is also regularly done to keep alpacas healthy and comfortable. Although shearing is a necessary practice in farm management, it also constitutes a potential stressor that can compromise welfare in domestic animal species and wild animals in captivity (Bonacic and Macdonald 2003, Carcangiu and others 2008, Lexen and others 2008, Piccione and others 2008, 2011, Carmanchahi and others 2011).

The influence of shearing stress has been widely reported and considered in relation to behavioural, functional, endocrine and biochemical variables in small ruminant species (Mears and others 1999, Hetem and others 2009, Cirne and others 2014, Hashem 2014, Casella and others 2016). In particular in sheep, many studies have been conducted evaluating the effect of stress due to shearing on various clinical, haematological and biochemical parameters, such as body temperature, heart rate, haematocrit, and glucose, cortisol, growth hormone and endorphin concentration.

Alpaca fleece is shorter than sheep wool of a similar micron, has less scratch factor, better thermal qualities and high tensile strength making it a sought-after wool. Different methods of restraint and shearing are used by alpaca farmers, which …

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