Immunocontraception for managing feral cattle in Hong Kong

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journal

7 Scopus Citations
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  • Giovanna Massei
  • Ka-Kei Koon
  • Steven Benton
  • Richard Brown
  • Matt Gomm
  • And 3 others
  • Darcy S. Orahood
  • Stéphane Pietravalle
  • Douglas C. Eckery


Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0121598
Journal / PublicationPLoS ONE
Issue number4
Online published9 Apr 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015



Conflicts between human interests and feral cattle in Hong Kong derive from growing numbers of free-roaming cattle. Public antipathy towards lethal population control led the local authorities to consider fertility control to reduce cattle numbers. This study assessed the potential side effects of the immunocontraceptive GonaCon on individual female cattle and established the effectiveness of GonaCon to induce infertility. We evaluated GonaCon in 34 captive cattle assigned to four groups: Control administered a sham solution; Webbed (surgically sterilized through removal of the oviducts), administered one dose of GonaCon; Webbed, administered one dose of GonaCon and a booster dose three months later, and Treated, administered one dose of GonaCon. The side effects of GonaCon were assessed by monitoring injection site, body weight, body condition, size of lymph nodes, body temperature, and feeding behaviour 1 week and 1, 3, 6, 9 and 12 months after vaccination and by haematological and biochemical variables at vaccination and three months post-vaccination. The effectiveness of GonaCon to cause infertility was monitored by quantifying anti-GnRH antibody titres and by using kits to detect cycling and pregnancy. GonaCon-treated cattle showed no injection site reaction, limping, or abnormal behaviour. No differences were observed in all physiological and welfare indicators between control and vaccinated cattle. All control cattle and 4 of the 12 cattle in the Treated group became pregnant. Cattle administered a booster dose had higher anti-GnRH antibody titres than cattle that received one dose. We concluded that GonaCon does not compromise the animals' welfare and is effective in reducing fertility in cattle. A booster dose is likely to increase the duration of infertility. Further studies are required to assess the feasibility and costs of immunocontraception for controlling free-roaming cattle populations.

Research Area(s)

Bibliographic Note

The School of Veterinary Medicine (SVM) has been integrated under the College of Veterinary Medicine and Life Sciences (CVMLS) since July 2017.

Citation Format(s)

Immunocontraception for managing feral cattle in Hong Kong. / Massei, Giovanna; Koon, Ka-Kei; Benton, Steven; Brown, Richard; Gomm, Matt; Orahood, Darcy S.; Pietravalle, Stéphane; Eckery, Douglas C.

In: PLoS ONE, Vol. 10, No. 4, e0121598, 2015.

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journal

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