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Animals 2015, 5(3), 536-544;

A High Percentage of Beef Bull Pictures in Semen Catalogues Have Feet and Lower Legs that Are Not Visible

Department of Animal Science, Colorado State University, 350 W. Pitkin St., Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Clive J. C. Phillips
Received: 19 May 2015 / Revised: 29 June 2015 / Accepted: 1 July 2015 / Published: 14 July 2015
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Simple Summary

When cattle breeders purchase semen from a website, the only way they can visually appraise a bull’s conformation is by looking at his photograph. Correct foot and leg structure is important to help reduce lameness. Only 19.4% of the bull pictures on four major websites had fully visible feet and lower legs. A possible explanation for this may be deliberate covering of feet and legs with photo editing software to cover up conformation defects. Visibility of feet and lower legs would help semen buyers avoid bulls with obvious feet or leg problems.


A total of 1379 beef bull pictures were surveyed to determine visibility of feet and legs from four American semen company websites. Five different breeds were represented: Angus, Red Angus, Hereford (polled and horned), Simmental, and Charolais. In addition to visibility, data on other variables were collected to establish frequencies and correlations. These included breed, color, material that obscured visibility, such as grass, picture taken at livestock show or outside, semen company, photographer, video, and age of bull. A foot and leg visibility score was given to each bull picture. Only 19.4% of the pictures had fully visible feet and legs. Both the hooves and dewclaws were hidden on 32.5% of the pictures. Correlation between bull’s birthdate and the first four visibility scores was statistically significant (P < 0.0001). As age increased the feet and legs were more likely to be visible in the bull’s picture. This may possibly be due to greater availability of both photo editing software and digital photography. One positive finding was that 6% of the bulls had a video of the bull walking which completely showed his feet and legs. View Full-Text
Keywords: bulls; cattle; hoof; leg conformation; post-legged; semen catalogue bulls; cattle; hoof; leg conformation; post-legged; semen catalogue

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Franks, M.K.; Grandin, T. A High Percentage of Beef Bull Pictures in Semen Catalogues Have Feet and Lower Legs that Are Not Visible. Animals 2015, 5, 536-544.

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