Humaneness of an electro-immobilization unit for cattle

American Journal of Veterinary Research, Vol 47, No. 10, October 1986

Peter J. Pascoe, BVSc
Department of Clinical Studies
Ontario Veterinary College
University of Guelph
Guelph, Ontario N1G 2W1

Received for publication August 23, 1985


Application of an electro-immobilization unit was evaluated in adult Holstein cows. Twenty cows were acclimated to being led from their stanchion, down a corridor, and into a set of stocks. After the first 7 sessions when the cows were exposed to a conditioning stimulus, cows were assigned to 4 groups of 5. One group served as a control group, 2 groups were given a high or low stimulus with the electro-immobilizer immediately after the conditioning stimulus, and 1 group was given saline solution IM. These stimulus treatments were repeated 10 times, followed by an extinction trial of 10 sessions when stimulus treatments were stopped. The time taken to enter the stocks, the heart rate before and after treatment was given, and an assessment of the physical reaction were used as measurements of the response of each cow. At the end of the stimulus treatment phase, cows in high or low stimulus groups had significantly greater (P < 0.05) reluctance to enter the stocks and had higher heart rates during the period before they were given the stimulus. These cows also had significantly greater (P < 0.05) physical reaction than did cows in the control group and the group given the IM injection. Cows given the IM injection demonstrated significantly (P < 0.05) greater physical reaction than did cows in the control group. Seemingly, electro-immobilization was a noxious event and was more noxious than a simple IM injection.

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