The welfare of calves during handling and transport

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Transport normally leads to poor welfare in calves and evidence from mortality rate, heart rate, adrenal activity, enzyme changes, immunological effects, carcass quality and behaviour shows that welfare can be very poor. Loading and unloading are usually the most stressful procedures but vehicle conditions and journey characteristics are also important. More information is needed concerning the practices and vehicles which lead to the least welfare problems. Previous experience affects responses to handling and transport; those calves reared in crates being particularly ill-equipped to cope with the procedures. Those people involved in handling and transport should have a financial incentive to treat animals well and there should be more effective policing of the procedures and vehicles during national and international journeys.