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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5713/ajas.19.0986    [Accepted] Published online April 12, 2020.
Welfare traits of Bos indicus cattle immunologically castrated and fed beta-adrenergic agonists
Luciane Silva Martello1,*  , Daniel Silva Antonelo1  , Nara Regina Brandao Consolo1  , Verônica Madeiro Pacheco1  , João Alberto Negrão1  , Alessandra Fernandes Rosa1  , Paulo Roberto Leme1  , Rafael Vieira Sousa1  , Saulo Luz Silva1 
College of Animal Science and Food Engineering, University of São Paulo, Pirassununga 13635900, Brazil
Correspondence:  Luciane Silva Martello, Tel: +55-19 3565 6732, Fax: +55-19 3565 6732, Email: martello@usp.br
Received: 27 December 2019   • Revised: 23 January 2020   • Accepted: 17 March 2020
This work was carried out to evaluate the effects of zilpaterol hydrochloride (ZH) and ractopamine hydrochloride (RH) combined with immunocastration on the welfare traits of feedlot Nellore cattle.
Ninety-six Nellore males (average BW = 409 ± 50 kg; average 20 mo of age) were divided into two groups according to BW; half of the animals in each group received two doses of an immunocastration (ImC) vaccine in a 30 day interval, and the other half did not receive the vaccine (NoC). Afterward, the animals were housed and fed a common diet for 70 days. Then, they were split into three groups and fed one of the following diets for 30 additional days: control (CO) diet, with no β-AA; ZH diet, containing 80 mg/day ZH; and RH diet, containing 300 mg/day RH. Welfare traits were assessed by monitoring body surface temperature using infrared thermography images (IRT) and plasma cortisol and temperament measurements.
There was no interaction between sexual condition and diet for any trait. The ImC and NoC groups did not differ in rectal and ocular temperatures. The ImC animals had higher flight speeds (P=0.022) and tended to have higher cortisol levels (P= 0.059) than the NoC animals. Animals fed ZH and RH did not differ in cortisol levels, respiratory rate, rectal temperature, temperature measured by IRT, or temperament behaviour.
The ImC animals showed a less stable temperament during handling practices than NoC, whereas ZH and RH supplementation had no adverse effects on animal welfare.
Keywords: Cattle Behaviour; Bos indicus Temperament; Infrared Thermography; Ractopamine Hydrochloride; Zilpaterol Hydrochloride
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