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Animals 2018, 8(10), 170; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8100170

Effects of Short Transport and Prolonged Fasting in Beef Calves

1
Programa Doctorado en Ciencias Veterinarias, Escuela de Graduados, Facultad de Ciencias Veterinarias, Universidad Austral de Chile, Casilla 567, Valdivia, Chile
2
Instituto de Ciencia Animal, Facultad de Ciencias Veterinarias, Universidad Austral de Chile, Casilla 567, Valdivia, Chile
3
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
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Farm Animal Transport)
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Simple Summary

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.

Abstract

Marketing is a stressful process for beef calves, because they are removed from their environment, often weaned just before loading, loaded, transported, and unloaded. It also involves extended periods without food and water and mixing with unfamiliar animals in an unknown environment. Some studies have shown that calves sold through markets are exposed to extended fasting periods even when they undergo only short transportation times. The aim of this controlled study was to determine the consequences for beef calves of a short transportation time followed by a prolonged time without food and water on their tympanic temperature (TT), maximum eye temperature (MET), blood variables related to stress, and live weight. Ten calves were transported for 3 h and then kept in an outdoor pen for 21 h, completing a 24 h fasting period. Sampling took place before loading, after transport and unloading, and then after completing 24 h without food and water. TT, MET, blood glucose, and creatine kinase (CK) increased significantly after transportation. Live weight decreased across sample times (mean of 10 kg per calf after 24 h of fasting), which was consistent with the higher concentration of β-HB found after fasting. Further studies to measure the actual consequences of true, commercial marketing on calf welfare and productivity are needed. View Full-Text
Keywords: beef calves; transport; fasting; marketing beef calves; transport; fasting; marketing
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Bravo, V.; Gallo, C.; Acosta-Jamett, G. Effects of Short Transport and Prolonged Fasting in Beef Calves. Animals 2018, 8, 170.

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