Effects of density and water availability on the behavior, physiology, and weight loss of slaughter horses during transport

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Title: Effects of density and water availability on the behavior, physiology, and weight loss of slaughter horses during transport
Author: Iacono, Christa Marie
Abstract: The aim of this study was to determine the effects of density and provision of water on behavior , stress , and weight loss in slaughter horses during transport . A 16 .2 -m long , single deck , semi -trailer was divided into three compartments to create high , medium , and low density (5000 , 4000 , and 3000 kg per compartment , respectively ) groups of slaughter horses . A total of six shipments containing 23 to 30 horses per shipment were transported in June and July of 2004 for 18 to 20 h . Horses were a variety of different breeds , ages , sexes , and body conditions , but were typical of slaughter horses . Jugular blood samples were taken from five horses in each of the three density treatments immediately before loading and after unloading at the completion of each shipment . All horses were weighed at the same time as the blood samples were collected . While the truck was stopped , horses in each of two compartments received water from three automatic water bowls in each side of a compartment . The water was provided for 1 -h after 8 h of transport and then again just prior to unloading . The third , non -watered compartment served as a control for each of the 1 -h watering sessions . Densities selected to receive water were alternated between shipments . The aggressive behavior of the horses for the six shipments was recorded using 12 video cameras installed in the trailer . All occurrences of aggressive behavior were counted from 15 -min segments of video during 2 -h intervals for each horse that was visible in each density group . Density did not significantly affect (P > 0 .21 ) aggressive behavior , cortisol , serum chemistry profile , dehydration , and weight loss . Aggression level did not differ (P = 0 .49 ) between the first and second halves of the shipments . Individual horses , rather than density , appeared to be the cause of aggressive behavior . The watered and non -watered groups did not differ (P > 0 .54 ) in terms of aggression , cortisol , serum chemistry profile , dehydration , and weight loss . Density and provision of water did not significantly influence aggressive behavior , stress and weight loss in shipments of 18 to 20 h long during warm weather .
URI: http : / /hdl .handle .net /1969 .1 /4673
Date: 2007-04-25

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Effects of density and water availability on the behavior, physiology, and weight loss of slaughter horses during transport. Available electronically from http : / /hdl .handle .net /1969 .1 /4673 .

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