Effects of Short Transport and Prolonged Fasting in Beef Calves
Programa Doctorado en Ciencias Veterinarias, Escuela de Graduados, Facultad de Ciencias Veterinarias, Universidad Austral de Chile, Casilla 567, Valdivia, Chile
Instituto de Ciencia Animal, Facultad de Ciencias Veterinarias, Universidad Austral de Chile, Casilla 567, Valdivia, Chile
Instituto de Medicina Preventiva Veterinaria, Facultad de Ciencias Veterinarias, Universidad Austral de Chile, Casilla 567, Valdivia, Chile
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 31 August 2018 / Revised: 19 September 2018 / Accepted: 25 September 2018 / Published: 3 October 2018
Marketing is inherently stressful for animals because they are removed from their home environment, handled, and transported. When sold at a livestock market, the events associated with transport are duplicated, in that animals are delivered to and then transported from the market, animals are kept confined in an unknown environment and are often mixed with unfamiliar animals, and fasting times increase. For calves, the stress of weaning is added, because the weaning process often takes place moments before being loaded for transport. In Chile, approximately one million cattle go through livestock markets annually and over 30% of them, being the largest category, are calves. Some studies have shown that calves sold through markets suffer from extended fasting periods, even when exposed to only short transportation times. The aim of this study was to determine the consequences of a short transportation time followed by an extended period without food and water. This was undertaken by measuring variables related to stress in beef calves. The results obtained showed a significant physiological effect on body temperature, blood indicators and live weight (LW). Calves lost a mean of 10 kg each after 24 h of fasting. LW loss is probably the most significant economic effect, since animals are traded based on weight. Further studies to measure the impact during true, commercial marketing are needed.