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Here we report dairy calf management practices used by 242 smallholder family farmers in the South of Brazil. Data were collected via a semi-structured questionnaire with farmers, inspection of the production environment and an in-depth interview with a sample of 26 farmers. Herds had an average of 22.3 lactating cows and an average milk production of 12.7 L/cow/day. Calves were dehorned in 98% of the farms, with a hot iron in 95%. Male calves were castrated in 71% of the farms; methods were surgery (68%), emasculator (29%), or rubber rings (3%). No pain control was used for these interventions. In 51% of the farms all newborn male calves were reared, sold or donated to others; in 35% all newborn males were killed on the farm. Calves were separated from the dam up to 12 h after birth in 78% of the farms, and left to nurse colostrum from the dam without intervention in 55% of the farms. The typical amount of milk fed to calves was 4 L/day until a median age of 75 days. In 40% of the farms milk was provided in a bucket, in 49% with bottles, and in 11% calves suckled from a cow. Solid feeding in the milk-feeding period started at a median age of 10 days. Calves were housed individually in 70% of the farms; in 81% of the farms calves were housed in indoor pens, in 6% in outdoor hutches and in 13% they were kept on pasture. Diarrhoea was reported as the main cause of calf mortality in 71% of the farms. Farmers kept no records of calf disease, mortality, or use of medicines. Changing the scenario identified in this survey is essential to support the sustainable development of dairy production, an activity of great economic and social relevance for the region.
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... Conforme apontam Hötzel et al. (2014), alguns bezerros machos de raças leiteiras são criados e destinados ao consumo de subsistência nas propriedades. Contudo, uma série de fatores, como a escassez de pastagens, baixa disponibilidade de força de trabalho e o custo do leite, que poderia ser comercializado ao invés de utilizado para consumo dos bezerros, desestimulam ou impedem a adoção mais expressiva dessa alternativa. ...
... De acordo com Rodrigues, os principais motivos que desestimulam a criação dos bezerros machos da raça Jersey, predominante naquela região, são o crescimento lento do animal, a baixa relação custo-benefício, a escassez de recursos para a criação, o desinteresse pela prática e a menor conversão alimentar em comparação à outras raças de leite, como a Holandês. A percepção de que o bezerro macho pouco contribuía como fonte de renda permeava muitos discursos dos entrevistados, destaca o autor.Em outro trabalho, que teve como área de abrangência o oeste e o sul de Santa Catarina,Hötzel et al. (2014) afirmam que os produtores de leite entrevistados alegaram que não criam todos os bezerros em razão da escassez de recursos, como áreas de pastagem, e do custo do leite, que poderia ser comercializado ao invés de utilizado para a alimentação dos bezerros. ...
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A pecuária leiteira é a quarta principal atividade agropecuária desenvolvida em Santa Catarina, com um Valor Bruto da Produção (VBP) de R$ 6,15 bilhões em 2021, o que representa 11% do VBP total do estado. Além de sua relevância econômica, a produção leiteira também possui grande importância social, abrangendo cerca de 25 mil famílias em Santa Catarina, contabilizando-se apenas aquelas que comercializam sua produção com agroindústrias inspecionadas. Contudo, um dos efeitos adversos da crescente produção de leite é o sacrifício de bezerros machos de raças com aptidão leiteira, que se constituem num "subproduto" indesejado desse sistema. A acelerada especialização e tecnificação da atividade acentua ainda mais esse problema. De acordo com os produtores, a criação dos machos resulta em prejuízos e, diante da carência de alternativas viáveis, o sacrifício de animais recém-nascidos torna-se uma prática recorrente no setor. O presente trabalho procura dimensionar o impacto dessa medida sobre a proporção de machos e fêmeas de bovinos nascidos em Santa Catarina. Para isso, utilizou-se como fonte principal de dados os registros de nascimentos no âmbito do Sistema de Gestão da Defesa Agropecuária Catarinense (Sigen). Verificou-se que, do total de nascimentos registrados no Sigen entre 2013 e 2021, 45,2% eram machos e 54,8% fêmeas. Em parte, essa diferença é explicada pelo uso de sêmen sexado, embora essa prática seja pouco expressiva na pecuária catarinense, respondendo por 10% das inseminações e aproximadamente 2% do total de fêmeas nascidas. Estima-se que a diferença de aproximadamente 80 mil cabeças entre fêmeas e machos registrados anualmente deva-se, essencialmente, ao sacrifício de bezerros de raças com aptidão leiteira logo após o nascimento. As análises estatísticas demonstraram a existência de forte correlação entre os índices mais elevados de registro de fêmeas e as variáveis relacionadas à importância da pecuária leiteira nas microrregiões catarinenses, quais sejam: número de estabelecimentos agropecuários que produzem leite; número de estabelecimentos agropecuários que vendem leite; número de vacas ordenhadas; produção anual de leite. Não obstante tais resultados, reconhece-se a possibilidade de que outros fatores afetem essa diferenciação, sendo recomendados estudos adicionais com tal abordagem. Por fim, aponta-se a necessidade de busca de soluções viáveis do ponto de vista ético, social e econômico, de forma a evitar impactos negativos sobre uma das mais importantes atividades desenvolvidas pela agricultura familiar catarinense e que possui grande relevância econômica no cenário rural do estado.
... However, it differs from Freire and Nicol (13) who found that publications on AW worldwide dealt mainly with dairy cattle and were related to milk production and associated illnesses, such as lameness and mastitis. Recent studies in Chile and Brazil have also shown how cow welfare and productivity can be affected by lameness and mastitis (45-47) and a similar approach has been used looking at the welfare of dairy calves in relation to management, behavior and performance (48)(49)(50)(51). Differences between studies and regions, are probably due to the fact that the dairy production systems in Europe, USA and Canada are more intensive and frequently combined with indoor housing, which often have worse welfare than extensively raised animals when we consider lack of comfort, insufficient space availability and fewer opportunities to perform natural behaviors (52). ...
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The present study constitutes a review of the scientific articles about animal welfare in terrestrial farmed animals, published in 19 countries of Latin America. The main objectives were to quantify and characterize articles produced between 1992 and 2021 in farm animals' welfare using “Web of Science [v.5.32]” and “CAB Abstracts” databases. A total of 663 articles were found for the period analyzed, which were mainly in English (87%). The countries with the most publications were Brazil (43%), México (25%), Chile (12%), Uruguay (10%), Colombia (4%) and Argentina (2%). Cattle was the farm species most considered in the publications (41%), and the studies addressed mostly the on-farm production stage (76%). There was a rapid increase in the number of articles published in the last 15 years, accounting for 95% of the publications. This could be related to the publication of welfare standards by the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH) since 2005, the creation of the Collaborating Center for Animal Welfare and Sustainable Livestock Systems—Chile-Uruguay-México in 2009, a Regional Strategy of Animal Welfare prompted by the WOAH in 2012 and the inclusion of animal welfare in the veterinary curriculum. The fact that most articles were in English shows that Latin American researchers have somehow overcome the challenge of publishing in a non-native language and their research can be read/cited worldwide. However considerable gaps in scientific productivity were identified in comparison to European and North American countries. Scientific research concerning the livestock industry in Latin America faces new challenges arising from the need to move toward more sustainable production systems within the One Welfare and One Health frame.
... So, we're not going to feed that calf 12 liters of milk a day, it's not going to happen." Restricted milk allowance (e.g., feeding calves an average of 4 L/d in the first few weeks of life) has been reported among Australian (Abuelo et al., 2019) and Brazilian farmers (Hötzel et al., 2014) for both male and female calves. In contrast, Canadian farmers reported that they provided replacement heifers a maximum of 8.2 L/d (mean) of milk or milk replacer (Winder et al., 2018). ...
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Current systems for managing surplus dairy calves are wrought with ethical and animal welfare concerns. Resolving complex problems in the dairy industry requires engagement from dairy farmers and other stakeholders. The main objective of this case study was to pilot a novel methodology to deepen our understanding of how dairy producers envision the future of surplus calves in Atlantic Canada, including identifying who they felt were important to speak to as they discussed this topic. A second objective was to understand the perspectives of a key group the producers requested to speak to, representing a variety of dairy industry partners, including veterinarians, genetics companies, and animal welfare scientists amongst others (referred to as the allied industry) on the future of surplus calves. To reach these objectives, we used an inclusive participatory approach that, to our knowledge, has not yet been applied to the surplus calf issue. This approach included a series of five participatory group discussions with volunteer dairy farmers from Atlantic Canada; the allied industry group was invited to two group discussions. Participants discussed the feasibility of creating a dairy beef system as a potential solution to the surplus dairy calf issue. During the discussions, participants were encouraged to make requests to speak to individuals that would help them design a dairy beef system. Audio-recorded transcripts were subjected to inductive qualitative content analysis where short descriptors were assigned to pieces of the discussion relevant to study objectives. Four key themes from the discussions included: (1) challenges with surplus calf production on the dairy farm, such as a lack of knowledge about what type of calf would be desired by the marketplace, (2) the role of leadership and partnership in the creation of a dairy beef system, including the need to overcome communication barriers between different stakeholders, (3) post-farm gate aspects of surplus calf production, including the desire to cater to a local market, and (4) ensuring that the proposed system is economically and socially viable. Knowledge gained from this type of participatory engagement can help stakeholders align their goals to resolve complex issues such as surplus calf management.
... Calf respiratory disease, for example, is estimated to cost the UK cattle industry GBP 80 million annually (between GBP 30 for a mild case to GBP 500 when an animal dies) [3]. Such negative impacts should call for strategies aimed at reducing the severity of the effects that these diseases can impose; as it is well known that housing and management practices can influence the risk levels associated with the Agriculture 2022, 12, 1496 2 of 12 pre-weaned period [4,5], developing a strategy for choosing an appropriate housing system and optimizing it in a targeted manner would seem especially relevant. ...
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On dairy farms, calves are typically raised inside barns (either in individual or group pens), or they are raised in outdoor hutches. To evaluate the effect of all three of these commonly used rearing practices on calves, an experiment was conducted. A group of 58 Holstein dairy female healthy calves (3 days of age) was randomly divided into three subgroups (outdoor hutches, individual-housed, and group-housed in a barn). The body weight, lying bouts, lying time, and immunity parameters of each calf were monitored, and the ambient temperature and relative humidity were measured. The average temperatures outside and in the barn and hutches were −16.67 °C, −15.26 °C, and −15.59 °C, respectively, from 22 November 2020 to 27 January 2021. All calves suffered from cold stress. Group-housed calves weighed significantly less than the other calves at the ages of 1 month and 2 month (p < 0.05). The lying time of the calves housed in individual pens and group pens was longer (p < 0.05) than that of the calves housed in hutches. The morbidity attributable to bovine respiratory disease was significantly lower among the calves housed in hutches than it was among the calves housed either individually or in group pens inside the barn (p < 0.05). No significant differences in the concentrations of TNF-α, IL-1β, and IL-6 were found between the three groups (p > 0.05). On the basis of these findings, we were able to conclude that calves housed in outdoor hutches were at a lower risk of developing a disease than were calves housed in barns without heating in winter. To optimize the management process, heating should be added to hutch systems. Moreover, more rigorous disease and environmental control management strategies should be applied when raising calves inside barns.
... Renaud et al. (2017) similarly reported that 34% of Canadian dairy farmers used blunt force trauma to euthanize male calves; Roche et al. (2020) reported that only 7% of farmers did so for heifer calves. This practice is not unique to Canada; 35% of Brazilian farmers reported euthanizing all of their male calves on the farm, the majority doing so by blunt force trauma (Hötzel et al., 2014). ...
Article
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Both male and female calves that are not required in the dairy herd sometimes receive inadequate care on dairy farms. Veterinarians work with farmers to improve animal care, and farmers often view veterinarians as trusted advisors; however, little is known about the attitudes of veterinarians on surplus calves. This study investigated the perspectives of Canadian cattle veterinarians on the care and management of surplus calves, as well as how they view their role in improving care. We conducted 10 focus groups with a total of 45 veterinarians from 8 provinces across Canada. Recorded audio files were transcribed, anonymized, and coded using thematic analysis. We found that veterinarians approached surplus calf management issues from a wide lens, with 2 major themes emerging: (1) problematic aspects of surplus calf management, including colostrum management, transportation, and euthanasia, and suggested management and structural solutions, including ways to improve the economic value of these calves, and (2) the veterinarian's role in advising dairy farmers on the care of surplus calves, including on technical issues, and more broadly working with farmers to better address public concerns. We conclude that veterinarians are concerned about the care of surplus calves on dairy farms and believe that they have an important role in developing solutions together with their farmer clientele.
... Education of farmers on animal welfare and proper medication, such as anesthetics, should be provided to change these practices. According to Hötzel et al. [11], low understanding about the pain inflicted in some husbandry practices can prevent farmers from changing to more appropriate management practices based on affordable drugs. ...
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Local livestock breeds play an important role in the food security of smallholders in developing countries in the Global South. They are also a reservoir of potentially valuable genes for adaptation of global animal genetic resources. The Creole cattle population from Pasorapa, Bolivia, is threatened by effects of climate change and unplanned crossbreeding. The aim of this study was to assess the current situation in this population and to evaluate factors to be considered before implementing conservation and genetic improvement programs in order to achieve the sustainable development goals 1, 2, 13 and 15, which refer to no poverty, zero hunger, climate change and life on land, respectively. We examined and analyzed the most important elements related to the production system and farmers’ perceptions that could affect the design of such programs. Open-ended and closed-ended questionnaires and interviews were performed with 81 smallholders from 11 communities in Pasorapa. A rearing system based on two stages and animals feeding mainly on native plants during both, involves a strong interaction between the environment and the production system. A survey of farmers’ perceptions about diseases, mortality causes, and selection criteria revealed that farmers in Pasorapa consider coat color an important trait when selecting breeding and replacement animals. Half of all interviewees perceived an association between coat color and traits such as temperament, milk yield, and beef production. In a SWOT analysis we discussed the vulnerability of the system to climate change impacts and the contribution of this traditional system to rural mitigation. Overall, this work revealed the importance of this local ecotype and identified key factors to consider when developing breeding and conservation programs.
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One animal-based method to evaluate welfare is the presence of stress. In dairy ruminants, the responses to stressors include the activation of both neuroendocrine and autonomous nervous system that can be evaluated through an endocrine assessment. The present study aimed to validate a radioimmunoassay method for cortisol in buffalo milk. Three formulations (whole and skimmed milk and whey) and three solvents (methanol diethyl ether and dichloromethane) were tested: methanol was characterised by the best extraction efficiency (69.88%), whey cortisol concentrations showed a significant correlation with whole extracted milk and were not affected by fat content variation during the milking session. The RIA used in the present study showed good precision, sensitivity and specificity: the dilutions test indicated the high reproducibility of the results, overlapping of the dilution curve and standard curve highlighted high specificity and the lack of interfering factors by buffalo whey matrix. It is concluded that the present assay suits the cortisol measurement in buffalo milk and the ranges described could be employed in the calibration of a biosensing technologies directly integrated in milking parlour systems. • Highlights • Buffalo milk whey revealed to be a matrix of great interest because of its high stability in terms of storage, transportation and processing. • RIA method suits the cortisol measurement in buffalo milk • Ranges described can be employed in the calibration of biosensors for non-invasive assessment of cortisol
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Bu çalışma, Kahramanmaraş ili Andırın ilçesinde 10 baş ve üzeri sığıra sahip süt sığırcılığı işletmelerdeki sığır ve buzağı yetiştirme uygulamalarını ortaya koymak amacıyla yürütülmüştür. Anket sonuçlarının değerlendirilmesinde, işletme sahiplerinin %66’sı orta yaş grubunda (30-49 yaş) yer almakta olup, %74’ü ilkokul mezunudur. İşletme sahiplerinin %97’sinin hayvancılıkla ilgili herhangi bir eğitimi bulunmamaktadır. İşletmelerdeki ortalama sığır varlığı 34.31 baş, sağmal inek sayısı 18.90 baş olup, inek başına ortalama günlük süt verimi 16.44 litre olarak gerçekleşmiştir. İşletmelerdeki buzağı ölüm oranı ortalama %7.89 olup, ölümlerin tamamına yakını ilk 30 günde gerçekleşmiştir. İşletmelerde buzağıların %92 oranında 1 ile 3 ay arasında sütten kesildikleri belirlenmiştir. Buzağılarını doğum sonrası ilk 12 saat içerisinde annelerinden ayıran işletme oranı %98’dir. İşletmelerin %96’sında buzağıların kolostrum almaları sağlanmakta, göbek kordonu tentürdiyot ile dezenfekte edilmekte ve yavru zarları inekten uzaklaştırılmaktadır. İşletmelerin %77’sinde buzağılar süt ihtiyacını annelerini emerek karşılamakta, %92’sinde kaba ve kesif yem buzağılara 30. günden sonra verilmektedir. Su ise birinci haftadan itibaren buzağılara içirilmektedir. İshal vakası görülen işletme oranı %99 olarak gerçekleşmiştir. İşletmelerin %93’ünde boynuz köreltme işlemi yapılmamaktadır. Buzağılarını grup halinde barındıran işletme oranı %99 olup, bu işletmelerin de %82’si buzağılar ile ergin sığırları aynı barınak içerisinde tutmaktadır. Sonuç olarak Kahramanmaraş ili Andırın ilçesinde faaliyette bulunan sığırcılık işletmelerinde ergin sığır ve buzağı yetiştirme konusunda teknik hataların olduğu, hayvan sağlığı ve sağlık hizmeti alımında ciddi eksikliklerin olduğu ve işletmelerin ekonomik olarak sürdürülebilir olmadıkları belirlenmiştir.
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Despite the clear importance of drinking water, calves are not always provided water on farm for the first few weeks of life. The main objective of this study was to investigate the effects of water provision (access or no access) and milk allowance (high or low) on the behavior and growth rate of calves. Fifty mixed-breed calves were each assigned to 1 of 4 treatments: (1) water and high (10 L/d) milk allowance (n = 13), (2) no water and high milk allowance (n = 12), (3) water and low (5 L/d) milk allowance (n = 12), or (4) no water and low milk allowance (n = 13). Visits to the water trough, water intake, milk drinking behavior (visits and drinking speed), proportion of observations eating hay and calf starter, and lying behavior were recorded from when the calves were, on average, 5 d of age (standard deviation: 2 d) for 4 consecutive weeks. Calves were weighed weekly. Some calves began to visit the water trough from the start of the recording period, as early as 4 d of age, and water intake increased with age for all calves that had access to it. This increase was greater for calves provided a high milk allowance. Water intake increased with ambient temperature, which highlights the importance of providing drinking water in warm conditions. Overall, calves spent a greater proportion of observations eating hay and calf starter with age. The provision of drinking water was associated with a greater proportion of observations eating hay but less eating calf starter. The increase in the proportion of observations eating calf starter with age was greater for calves on a low milk allowance than of those provided a high milk allowance; this is likely due to calves on a low milk allowance searching for nutrients and energy. Calves on a high milk allowance grew faster and spent more time lying compared with calves with a low milk allowance, thus suggesting greater satiety of well-fed calves. Our results suggest that calves should have free access to drinking water from birth and that access to drinking water may aid in hay (fiber) intake and possibly rumen development.
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Dairy calves are generally separated from their dam at birth. They express non-nutritive oral activities such as licking or sucking other calves or objects, nibbling, or tongue-playing, which have been related to the absence of sucking a teat and ingestive chewing. We hypothesized that the dam, by its presence, can help focus the oral behaviour of calves towards nutritive activities and thereby limit the development of non-nutritive oral activities. To test this hypothesis, we compared calves suckled by their dam against calves separated from their dam at birth and fed milk through a teat (automatic milk feeder). Cow and calf behaviour was observed before weaning and after weaning at 10 wk of age. Before weaning, the suckled calves were less active than the artificially fed calves. After weaning, suckled calves tended to spend less time on non-nutritive oral activities than non-suckled calves. Before weaning, suckling cows and non-suckling cows showed similar behaviour. Both cows and calves reacted to weaning: cows showed vocalization and agitation, and calves showed increased blood cortisol levels. We conclude that keeping dairy calves with their dam for 1 0 wk can be beneficial to calves, although weaning induces a degree of stress.
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5.1 Abstract Remarkable advances in the understanding of animal sentience, and in the development and validation of scientifi c methods to assess farm animal welfare , have been achieved in the past 50 years. Nonetheless, farm animal welfare improvements have been limited by interactions between economic, political, technical and biological factors. Improving farm animal welfare with moderate changes in the current production systems may become even harder as we are faced with the demand to reduce the environmental impact of livestock production and produce food for a growing, richer human population. 'Sustainable intensifi cation' of production, which is perceived by many as the best path to reverse the environmental impacts of agriculture, is likely to exacerbate many common welfare problems. A shift to large-scale, confi ned production of monogastrics of highly productive genotypes may help improve feed effi ciency and reduce production costs associated with energy and waste, but this shift may also cause welfare problems. Animal welfare is an important ethical social concern and needs to be integrated into the concept of sustainable agriculture. The push for further intensifi cation ignores the fact that the public tends to reject industrial animal production systems. To achieve significant improvements in farm animal welfare, besides proposing technical innovations we need to envisage new political and economic arrangements that permit effi cient and ethical animal production systems to fl ourish.
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Over the last decade many emerging economies, and in particular Brazil, have established themselves as major players in global food animal production. Within these countries much of the increase in food animal production has been achieved by the adoption of intensive housing systems similar to those found in most industrialized countries. However, it is now well established that many of these systems are associated with numerous welfare problems, particularly with respect to restriction of movement. Previous work has shown that people living in industrialized’ countries broadly support farm animal welfare reform, and that similar criticisms may be voiced from citizens living in developing countries as they become more aware of confinement housing and potentially contentious husbandry practices. Given the developments that have taken place in other countries, there are lessons that could be learned and applied by emerging economies that would undoubtedly ease or prevent the challenges observed in other countries. Thus, we briefly describe the vehicles used by different countries when addressing animal welfare that may provide insights into identifying possible challenges and potential solutions for Brazil and other emerging economies. Where available we review the associated science and identify gaps where more research is needed. We conclude by providing a possible roadmap on how farm animal welfare reform may be addressed in emerging countries. Solutions will need to be tailored, culturally relevant, and science must play a key role in supporting animal welfare reform in the emerging countries.
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High calf mortality is an important factor of economic loss in dairy production. At present, limited data are available on calf rearing practices and calf mortality in Italian dairy farming. The aim of the study was to identify the most important management risk factors for preweaning calf mortality in Italian dairy farms. A group of 28 intensive dairy farms from Lombardy (Italy) were visited to collect information about calf management and calf mortality. Female calf mortality showed high variability among herds and in many cases the percentage of calves dead within the preweaning period was very high. The average perinatal mortality (during calving and within 24 h after birth) was 8.82% of total females born with a maximum value of 30.8%, whereas average early mortality (from 24 h to weaning) was 8.9 +/- 7.9%, with a maximum value of 28%. The herd size did not significantly affect calf mortality although the number of calves cared per operator in the big farms was higher than in the small ones. Multivariate logistic analysis showed that feeding first colostrum meal beyond three hours after birth, group housing before 30 d of age and feeding daily less than 5 L of milk or milk replacer per calf multiply the risk to have early mortality higher than 10%. The study showed that early calf mortality could be strongly reduced by paying more attention to a very limited number of operations.
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