With rising concerns from both consumers and retailers about the welfare of all farmed animals, greater efforts are being made by farmers and producers to ensure good animal welfare standards are maintained.
Heat stress in dairy cows remain a huge welfare concern and researchers from the University of Florida, USA are the latest to detail the negative effects heat stress can have on a cow's health and lifespan, as well as the impact heat stress can have on a calf.
In a controlled study, researchers from the University of Florida exposed a herd of pregnant Holstein cows to extreme temperatures (made possible by the Floridian heat) and collected data on the health of the calves after birth. This data was then compared with data collected from pregnant Holstein cows who were provided with cooling measures towards the latter stages of their pregnancies.
Key findings show that calves born to heat-stressed cows had:
• Lower birth weights
• Reduced weight of major organs (heart, liver and kidneys)
• Higher rates of cell death in the intestine
Read more about this new study here.