Cruelty and neglect of cattle globally is an animal welfare crisis.
Cattle are extremely sensitive to heat pain/stress – Just 30 minutes of exposure to high temperatures can lead to heat stress in cattle maintained without shade according to some experts.
In many feedlots and paddocks throughout Australia, cattle are kept for up to 240 days without access to any form of shade. Some farm animals live their entire lives in paddocks without shade regardless of the suffering and the psychological and physiological effects. It is inherently cruel to leave farm animals exposed to inclement weather without shelter. During summer, trees are perfect for the provision of shade but other, man-made constructions, such as shelters are suitable too, as long as they allow access to all animals and provide adequate ventilation.
The suffering of these animals has been largely ignored by key organisation and policy makers – who have to date still not enforced this most basic of needs. If you see any farm animals exposed to the hot weather without provision of shade or suffering in hail and heavy rain please make a report (Click here)
What are the effects of prolonged exposure outside of Cattles comfort zone?
- Organ Failure
- Sudden Death/Heart Failure
- Compromised Immune System
- Respiratory Disease
LIFE IN A PADDOCK OR FEEDLOT WITH LITTLE or NO SHADE
There are hundreds of thousands of feed lots and paddocks with no shade shelter all over the world. Owners of farm animals send cattle to feedlots for intensive feeding before slaughter.
1.Cattle can spend up to 240 day s in a feedlot and in some paddocks alll of their lives without any protection from the blistering sun
2. Since cattle cannot sweat, their uper critical temperature for heat-induiced pain is about 10 degrees celsius (20 degrees farenheit) cooler compared to humans. in other words, if it is 26 degrees outside, it feels like 36 degrees for cattle left in the sun. Speaking about cattle in an interview with Living the Country Life, David Sparks, an extension veterinarian from Oklahoma State University, warns: “If you’re uncomfortable,the herd is too hot, and if you’re too hot, the herd is in serious danger.” Sparks explains that cattle don’t sweat and have an upper critical temperature that is around 20 degrees cooler than humans. “So that means if it is [26.6 ℃] outside it feels like [37.7℃] to cattle. They are also affected more seriously by humidity.”
3. Other factors such as elevated humidity will further add to heat pain experienced by cattle. This temperature threshold is reduced if humidity is high. The higher the humidity. the lower the threshold temperature at which the animal begins to feel the effects of heat pain.
4. When the outside temperature rises above 26.6 degrees C, both physiological and psychological effects begin to occur. This temperature threshold is reduced if humidity is high.
5. Zone of comfort of bos taurus (british breeds) is around 4-24 degrees while Bos Indicus (tropical breeds -Brahmans) is around 10-27 degrees (Source: https://kb.rspca.org.au/knowledge-base/does-extreme-heat-affect-farm-animals/)
6. Cattle use their breath to try to deal with heat. The level of suffering is measured in panting scores. Bovine Respiratory disease is a common disease. The panting of stressed cattle is particularly intense in first 4 weeks upon arrival. The list of physiological effects on cattle such as organ failure is extensive. The following article indicates the cascading effects of internal organ damage caused by heat stress https://vet360.vetlink.co.za/training/heat-stress-in-cattle/
7. The heavier the animal, the harder it is to regulate body tempertaure. Cattle when being breed for slaughter can put on around 272 kilos or 600 pounds. The fermentation process used by cattle creates huge amounts of heat. Ref>”Heavy cattle cannot handle heat stress compared to lighter weight cattle. Increased fat deposition prevents cattle from regulating their heat effectively” https://vetmed.iastate.edu/vdpam/about/production-animal-medicine/beef/bovine-disease-topics/heat-stress-beef-cattle
8. The Temperature Heat Load is a measurement that calculates the time that cattle are subjected to consistently high temperatures outside of their comfort zone. Many regions with feedlots have over 22 days per month over 35 degress celcius, with a percentage of those over 37 degrees and higher. (Please refer to How to read the Weather page) “Cattle’s core temperature peaks 2 hours after peak environmental temperature. It also takes at least 6 hours for cattle to dissipate their heat load. Therefore, if peak temperature occurred at 4:00 pm cattle will not have recovered from that heat load until after 12:00 am and it will be later than that before cattle have fully recovered from the entire days heat load” source https://vetmed.iastate.edu/vdpam/about/production-animal-medicine/beef/bovine-disease-topics/heat-stress-beef-cattle
“A compounding factor on top of climatic conditions is the fermentation process within the rumen generates additional heat that cattle need to dissipate. Since cattle do not dissipate heat effectively they accumulate a heat load during the day and dissipate heat at night when it is cooler. During extreme weather conditions with insufficient environmental cooling at night cattle will accumulate heat that they cannot disperse. Therefore, a temperature-humidity index (THI) alone may not predict cattle heat stress because it does not account for accumulated heat load. Another short fall of THI is that it does not account for solar radiation and wind speed which can affect heat load of cattle.” Source Dr Grant Dewell https://vetmed.iastate.edu/vdpam/about/production-animal-medicine/beef/bovine-disease-topics/heat-stress-beef-cattle
9. Other than temperature and humidity, factors such as wind speed and impact of direct solar radiation can add to the heat pain of cattle. The THI (temperature humidity index) that owners of farm animals use to measure heat pain does not measure THL (Temperature Heat Load), wind speed, SOLAR RADIATION (no shade) or ground temperature (eg hot dirt).
10.Dirt or concrete footings can increase the ambient temperature around cattle. Dirt for example can be approx 5-15 degrees hotter than air temperature without shade. Manure and other organic matter contribute to the radiant heat of exposed ground absorbing heat. “In addition, radiant heat from dirt or concrete surface is increased for feedlot cattle. At temperatures above 80 degrees Fahrenheit cattle endure physiologic stress trying to deal with their heat load”.
CATTLE AND WATER
When hot they need 5.6 litres per hour or 1.1% of their body weight Source “water supply should be able to deliver 1.1% of body weight of the cattle per hour. A 1000 pound animal needs about 1.5 gallons of water per hour.” (5.67 litres per hour)
Cattle need 15,000 litres of water to produce 1 kilo of beef. The drought has meant that many animals will not receive as much water as required to help fight effects of high temperatures and heat pain/stress, particularly without shade.