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WE read the letter from Robert Paton (VR, August 2, 2014, vol 175, pp 123-124) with interest, as one of us (RB) recently spent two days in an abattoir (investigating rumen magnets) and, like Mr Paton, was also surprised at the number of barren cows with healed rib fractures, both mid-shaft and at the costochondral junctions. There was not, unfortunately, an opportunity to carry out a full count of the fractures to compare the prevalence with that observed by Mr Paton, but both types of rib fracture must be indicators of adverse welfare and, as such, we need a better understanding the causes …
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