Pros And Cons Of Social Animals

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Cows are social animal that lives in groups under natural and semi-natural conditions (Chua, B. et al 2002). In the dairy industry the dairy cows are kept in group housing. However on many commercial farms in the veal and the dairy industry, the calves are separated from the mother soon after birth and housed in individual pens. Since 2004 group housing for calves older than 8 weeks is compulsory in European union (Directive no. 97/2/EC). And also The American Veal Association (2007) request all U.S. veal producers to make a transition from individual to group housing by December 31, 2017 (Abdelfattah, et al. 2013). Individual housing has pro’s and con’s regarding production and animal welfare. In this paper the pro’s and con’s are reviewed on group housed cows, mainly focused on calves. In North America individual housing of dairy and veal calves is promoted by the industry (Quigley, J.D 1997). Individual housing should be beneficial way of housing because lower incidence of disease, fewer problems with cross-sucking and even more important higher weight gains (Chua, B. et al 2002). This last argument is not always true. The research of Xiccato, G et al, 2002 concluded that group housed veal calves had a higher weigh gain in the final period of growing. Furthermore the feeding efficiency of group housed calves was significantly higher in comparison with the individual housed calves. In other research no difference in weight gains was found between group and individual

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