The objective of the study was to investigate the physiological, haematological and immunological responses of weanling heifers transported from Ireland to a feedlot in Spain, and of weanling bulls transported from Ireland to a feedlot in Italy. Physiological variables (including interferon-γ production, cortisol, protein, urea, white blood cell numbers and differentials, and acute phase proteins (haptoglobin and fibrinogen) were used to evaluate the welfare status of animals, before, during and after the respective transport journeys. Age-matched control animals were blood sampled for the same measurements at times corresponding to the transported animals that were retained in Ireland. Heifers transported to Spain lost 7.6% of their initial live weight during the sea crossing to France. However, by the time of their arrival in Spain they had regained 3.3% of their initial live weight and had fully recovered to their pre-transport live weight values within 6. days of arriving in Spain. Weanling bulls lost 7.0% of their live weight during the sea crossing from Ireland to France. The live weight loss in control animals ranged from 1% to 2% during the same period. The percentage of time that bulls spent lying was 63.5% for the sea journey and 35.4% for the journey from the French lairage to the Italian feedlot. The average daily gain (kg) of transported animals was greater (P≤0.05) than control animals from day 11 to 38 (Spain) and day 11 to 40 (Italy), respectively. While transient changes in physiological, haematological and immunological variables were found in the transported and control animals relative to baseline levels, the values were within the normal physiological range for the age and weight of animals involved. Physiological measurements made after the road and sea journeys indicated that the 24. h rest in the lairage, with hay and water freely available, allowed animals to recover substantially.
|Titolo:||The effect of transport by road and sea on physiology, immunity and behaviour of beef cattle|
|Parole Chiave:||Animal welfare; Behaviour; Immunology; Physiology; Transport|
|Settore Scientifico Disciplinare:||Settore AGR/19 - Zootecnica Speciale|
|Data di pubblicazione:||giu-2012|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||10.1016/j.rvsc.2011.04.002|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||01 - Articolo su periodico|