Welfare Assessment in Calves Fattened According to the "Outdoor Veal Calf" Concept and in Conventional Veal Fattening Operations in Switzerland.

Moser, Lara; Becker, Jens; Schüpbach-Regula, Gertraud; Kiener, Sarah; Grieder, Sereina; Keil, Nina; Hillmann, Edna; Steiner, Adrian; Meylan, Mireille (2020). Welfare Assessment in Calves Fattened According to the "Outdoor Veal Calf" Concept and in Conventional Veal Fattening Operations in Switzerland. Animals, 10(10) MDPI 10.3390/ani10101810

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The "outdoor veal calf" system was developed to encounter the demand for a veal fattening system that allows for reducing antimicrobial use without impairing animal welfare. Management improvements including direct purchase, short transportation, vaccination, three-week quarantine in individual hutches, and open-air housing in small groups in a roofed, straw-bedded paddock with a group hutch were implemented in a prospective intervention study (1905 calves, 19 intervention and 19 control farms, over one year): antimicrobial use was five times lower in "outdoor veal" farms compared to control farms (p < 0.001), but it was crucial to ensure that antimicrobial treatment reduction was not associated with decreased animal welfare, i.e., that sick animals were not left untreated. Welfare was assessed monthly on the farms, and organs of 339 calves were examined after slaughter. Cough and nasal discharge were observed significantly (p ≤ 0.05) less often in intervention than in control farms, mortality (3.1% vs. 6.3%, p = 0.020) and lung lesion prevalence (26% vs. 46%, p < 0.001) were lower; no group difference was seen in abomasal lesion prevalence (65% vs. 72%). Thus, besides reduced antimicrobial use, calf health and welfare were improved in "outdoor veal calf" farms in comparison to traditional operations.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine (DKV)
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine (DKV) > Clinic for Ruminants
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health (DCR-VPH) > Veterinary Public Health Institute

UniBE Contributor:

Moser, Lara; Becker, Jens Michael; Schüpbach, Gertraud Irene; Grieder, Sereina; Steiner, Adrian and Meylan, Mireille

Subjects:

500 Science > 590 Animals (Zoology)
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
600 Technology > 630 Agriculture

ISSN:

2076-2615

Publisher:

MDPI

Language:

English

Submitter:

Nathalie Viviane Zollinger

Date Deposited:

14 Oct 2020 17:04

Last Modified:

14 Oct 2020 17:12

Publisher DOI:

10.3390/ani10101810

PubMed ID:

33027959

Uncontrolled Keywords:

abomasal ulcers animal welfare antimicrobial use housing pneumonia treatment incidence veal industry

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.146975

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/146975

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