20 October 1995

No travel for young calves

YOUNG calves under four weeks old should not be marketed, says a Bristol University researcher.

Evidence suggests they are not well adapted to transport, and mortality rates "appear unacceptable" when compared with other livestock.

A review of post-transport mortality, published in the Veterinary Record, shows death rates as high as 23% have been reported among calves less than two weeks old transported for long distances.

Other studies showed "comparatively few normal calves die during transport but they succumb, usually within four weeks."

to secondary disease". This is blamed on "their inability to respond appropriately to transport".

"Present published work indicates that calves ought not to be marketed until at least four weeks old but further studies are required to define an acceptable age limit which may turn out to be even greater than this," said the Bristol researcher.