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Effects of haul distance and stocking density on young suckling calves transported in Japan

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We conducted applicability evaluation of recommendations of the European Union (EU) and the Royal Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) for suckling calves. Nineteen calves (14 Holstein aged 11–26 days and five cross‐bred aged 13–45 days) were divided into six groups. Three groups were allocated into the stocking densities of 0.25, 0.35, 0.45 m2/head and were weekly transported 50, 100, 150 km in this order. Another three groups were allocated and transported in reverse order. Observation was conducted during and after transportation. Blood sampling was performed before and after transportation. The occurrences of lying and turning round on the truck were significantly associated with stocking density (P < 0.05), but not with haul distance. Scratching was observed only in one calf. Incidence of watery feces was not associated with both factors. There were significant effects of haul distance on the concentrations of plasma cortisol and noradrenaline, and serum aspartate aminotranserase (AST) and IgM (P < 0.05). These concentrations, except cortisol, were higher after transportation at 150 km compared to the pre‐transportation value (AST and IgM P < 0.05; noradrenaline P < 0.10). Results suggest that haul distances greater than 100 km should not be recommended even for suckling calves transported in Japan.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: School of Veterinary Medicine, Azabu University, Sagamihara 2: Graduate School of Agricultural Science, Tohoku University, Osaki, Japan

Publication date: August 1, 2011

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