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The noxious effects of electroimmobilization in adult Holstein cows: a pilot study.

  • P J Pascoe
  • W N McDonell
Publication Date
Apr 01, 1986


Ten adult Holstein cows were used in an experiment to determine whether the induction of electroimmobilization was a noxious event. The cows were halter trained and accustomed to being led into a set of stocks. The time taken for the cattle to walk the last ten metres into the stocks was recorded. The heart rate of the cow was recorded for a three minute period prior to a ten second exposure to a high pitched sound (the conditioning stimulus). Measurements were collected for three repetitions and then the cows were assigned to two groups of five. One group was immobilized for 30 seconds using a commercial electroimmobilizer, the other group was not treated. This procedure was repeated ten times over a period of eight days. The cows were then exposed to the conditioning stimulus and their response observed. The treated group took significantly (P less than 0.05) longer to get into the stocks and the regression slopes for heart rate were significantly different from the control group. The treated cows responded to the conditioning stimulus at five and nine months after the end of the conditioning period. Adult Holstein cows regarded electroimmobilization as a noxious event and were very strongly conditioned to this stimulus.

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