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Caldes de Montbui, Spain

Marti S.,Management and Welfare Research Group | Realini C.E.,IRTA Monells | Bach A.,Management and Welfare Research Group | Bach A.,Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies | And 2 more authors.
Meat Science

Twenty-four Holstein steers and 23 Holstein bulls (initial body weight = 252 ± 3.5. kg and age = 187 ± 7.5. d) were randomly allocated to 4 treatments arranged in a 2 × 2 factorial design with gender (bulls vs steers) and vitamin A supplementation (either restricted at 1.3 × 1000. IU/kg, VAR, or supplemented at 4.6 × 1000. IU/kg, CTR) to evaluate the effect of vitamin A restriction on performance, carcass and meat quality traits of Holstein steers and bulls. Intramuscular fat was less (P<0.01) in bulls than in steers, and tended (P=0.09) to be greater in VAR than in CTR animals. Oxidative stability tended (P=0.09) to be greater in meat from VAR than from CTR animals at 21. d of ageing. Vitamin A restriction in Holstein bulls does not achieve the same intramuscular fat levels obtained with castration. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Devant M.,Management and Welfare Research Group | Marti S.,Management and Welfare Research Group | Bach A.,Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies
Journal of Animal Science

A total of 132 animals (initial BW = 220 ± 22 kg and age = 166 ± 0.4 d) were used to study the effect of castration on eating behavior and physical activity. Animals were randomly allocated to 6 pens with 2 pens for each of the 3 treatment groups: 44 intact bulls, 44 steers castrated (3 mo of age) before the study began, and 44 bulls castrated (CAS) at 8 mo of age (at d 69 of the study). The study fi nished when animals reached 292 d of age. Each pen held 22 animals, and had 1 computerized concentrate feeder (GEA Westfalia-Surge, Germany), 1 feed trough for straw, and 1 water source. Concentrate and straw were offered ad libitum. Animals were weighed every 14 d and eating pattern at which animals consumed concentrate was averaged for each 14-d period. A pedometer was placed on the left hind leg of 86 animals randomly distributed among treatments to estimate physical activity from d -5 to 10 relative to surgical castration (d 65 to 79 of study). The statistical model included initial BW as a covariate, treatment, period, and the interaction between treatment and time (14-d), as fi xed effects, and pen and animal as random effects. For physical activity data, day was the repeated measure. The CAS animals exhibited reduced ADG and concentrate DMI (P < 0.001) during the fi rst 2 wk after castration than bulls or steers. Eating behavior throughout the study differed among treatments. Meal size (1.3 ± 0.05 kg) and meal duration (12.4 ± 0.47 min) were greater (P < 0.001) in bulls during the 2 wk after castration than in steers (1.0 ± 0.05 kg and 9.7 ± 0.46 min, respectively) and CAS animals (0.8 ± 0.05 kg and 7.8 ± 0.47 min, respectively). In contrast, bulls visited the feeders less frequently (5.3 ± 0.34/d) during these 2 wk than did steers (6.7 ± 0.34/d) and CAS animals (7.7 ± 0.34/d). In addition, daily intake, meal size, and eating rate increased (P < 0.001) with time. Lying time in CAS animals was reduced (P < 0.001) for the 5 d after castration compared with bulls and steers. Bulls were more active (steps/h) than steers, and activity of recently castrated animals decreased (P < 0.001) for at least 10 d after castration. Although 2 wk after castration differences in eating pattern across treatments were observed, the long-term effects of castration and gender (bull vs. steer) on eating behavior were diffi cult to interpret. Castration effects on total feed intake and lying time are temporary, whereas castration has a lasting reduction on physical activity. © 2012 American Society of Animal Science. All rights reserved. Source

Marti S.,Management and Welfare Research Group | Marti S.,Agriculture and Agri Food Canada | Devant M.,Management and Welfare Research Group | Amatayakul-Chantler S.,Zoetis Inc. | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Animal Science

Angus crossbred bulls (n = 60; 257 ± 5.4 d of age; initial BW 358.8 ± 3.78 kg) were used to study the effect of a vaccine against gonadotropin- releasing factor (GnRF) and band castration on behavioral and physiological indicators of pain. Cattle were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 treatments: bulls, band-castrated calves without pain mitigation (castrated), and immune-vaccinated animals administered an anti-GnRF vaccine (vaccinated). All animals were fitted with a radio frequency ear tag so that individual animal feed intake and feeding behavior were recorded daily over the entire trial using an electronic feed bunk monitoring system. Two doses of anti-GnRF vaccine were administrated on d –35 and 0 and band castration was performed on d 0. Animal BW was recorded weekly starting on d –36 until d 56. Visual analog scores (VAS) were measured on d –36 –35, –1, and 0, and salivary cortisol concentration was measured at –30, 0, 30, 60, 120, and 270 min on d –35 and 0 after castration. Saliva and blood were obtained on d 1, 2, 5, and 7 and weekly until d 56 for determination of cortisol and complete blood cell count. Video data were collected for pain, sexual, and aggressive behavior daily the first week and once a week until d 56. Data were analyzed with a mixed-effect model with castration, time, and their interactions as main effects. Vaccinated calves had reduced ADG and intake (P < 0.05 and P < 0.001, respectively) during the first week after vaccination. Band-castrated calves had reduced ADG and intake (P < 0.001) until the end of the study. No differences in salivary cortisol and VAS were observed among groups at d –35 after the first vaccination and before band castration. However, on d 0, castrated cattle had greater cortisol concentrations and VAS (P < 0.05 and P < 0.01, respectively) than bulls and vaccinated animals. Complete blood cell count did not differ (P > 0.05) between treatments on d 0, 1, and 2. At d 56, vaccinated calves had greater (P < 0.05) final BW than band-castrated calves and both had less final BW than bulls. There was no indication that vaccination caused any physiological or behavioral changes indicative of pain. In contrast, band castration resulted in elevated cortisol scores and VAS indicative of a pain response and behavior related to pain (P < 0.001) until d 42 of the study. The present study demonstrates that anti-GnRF vaccine is a viable animal welfare–friendly alternative to traditional band castration in beef cattle under North American feedlot practices. © 2015 American Society of Animal Science. All rights reserved. Source

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