Origin and assessment of bruises in beef cattle at slaughter.

1Adaptation Physiology Group, Wageningen University, PO Box 338, 6700 AH, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
animal (Impact Factor: 1.78). 05/2009; 3(5):728-36. DOI: 10.1017/S1751731109004091
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Studies of bruises, as detected on carcasses at the slaughterhouse, may provide useful information about the traumatic situations the animals endure during the pre-slaughter period. In this paper, we review scientific data on the prevalence, risk factors and estimation of the age of bruises in beef cattle. Risk factors such as animal characteristics, transport conditions, stocking density, livestock auction and handling of the animals are discussed. Investigation of the age of bruises could provide information on when in the meat chain bruises occur and, could help to pinpoint where preventive measures should be taken, from the stage of collecting the animals on the farm until slaughter. We review the methods available to assess the age of the bruises; data on human forensic research are also included. The feasibility to identify traumatic episodes during the pre-slaughter period, in order to improve animal welfare is discussed.

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