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Cortisol in Manure from Cattle Enclosed with Nofence Virtual Fencing

By Christian Sonne, Aage Kristian Olsen Alstrup, Cino Pertoldi, John Frikke, Anne Cathrine Linder, Bjarne Styrishave

Category Journal Articles

To increase the efficiency and geographic expansion of nature conservation, large grazers have recently been used, either in the form of wild hoof-bearing animals or as domesticated ruminants including cattle. Using physical fencing limits migrating wildlife, while virtual fences encourage the animals to stay in the desired area without physical restrictions on wild animals. However, virtual fences raise ethical questions regarding the electric impulses emitted by the collar and stress in the fenced animals. Here, we tested if keeping twelve Angus cows (Bos Taurus) in a virtual fencing (Nofence©) compromised their welfare. For this purpose, we collected manure samples from five cows every second day prior to and after the transition from traditional to virtual fencing over a period of 18 days. Cortisol concentrations were 20.6 ± 5.23 ng/g w/w (mean ± SD), ranging from 12 to 42 ng/g w/w across individuals and concentrations did not change over the study period. We, therefore, conclude that there is no evidence suggesting that the cows were stressed from the use for virtual fencing, thus making virtual fencing a reasonable alternative to traditional electric physical fencing of cows.

Publication Title Animals
Volume 12
Issue 21
Pages 3017
ISBN/ISSN 2076-2615
DOI 10.3390/ani12213017
Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Cattle
  2. Cortisol
  3. Fences
  4. Stress