Cattle show individual variation in their behavioural responses to handling and management systems on farms. These behavioural responses are presumed to reflect underlying temperament traits such as fear or aggression. Differences between breeds in behavioural traits demonstrate that variation in temperament has a genetic component, and heritabilities for such traits have generally been estimated as moderate to high (Burrows, 1997). Selection for favourable behavioural phenotypes would increase the ability of animals to cope with stressors encountered in modern agricultural systems, improving animal welfare and productivity, and human safety when handling stock. Hence information about the genetic loci that influence temperament may be of use in selective breeding programmes to select for animals with temperaments better suited to their environment.

N. Ball, M. J Haskell, J. M Deag, J. L Williams

Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume 2002. Session 14, , 14.17, 2002
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