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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    ABSTRACT: The objective of this study was to determine the effect of breed, gender and age on Stress-related behaviour (AB) of sheep at slaughter, bleed-out times (BT) during exsanguination, and the quality of mutton. The behaviour of 90 castrates and 110 ewes of different age categories (<10months, 11-12 months, >12 months) was observed during three stages of slaughter, at a commercial abattoir. AB was not affected by breed, gender and age. BT was recorded as time intervals between the start of blood flow and the time the flow changed from a constant stream into drips. Ninety meat samples were obtained to measure meat colour, pH24, temperature24, cooking loss, and tenderness. Correlations between bleeding times and meat quality variables were also determined. Ewes had longer (68.5±1.48 s) bleed-out times than castrates (55.2±1.70s). Heavier sheep had longer bleeding times than the lighter ones (r=0.149). Cooking loss (CL) was higher in meat from older sheep and in meat from ewes than from younger sheep and castrates, respectively. Meat from the Dorper breed had the highest CL (39.6±1.38 %) and the lowest Warner Bratzler Shear Force (WBSF) (14.3±3.66 N). Meat from the Merino breed had the highest WBSF (33.9±3.24 N). pH24 was positively correlated to a* and b* colour ordinates. It can therefore be concluded that breed, gender and age had no effect on AB, while these factors affected some quality variables of mutton. Only gender had an effect on bleed-out times. Bleed-out times correlate with animal weight but poorly with the meat quality variables.
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    ABSTRACT: Background: The distance traveled by trucks carrying cattle from farm to slaughterhouse can affect the resultant quality of beef due to the occurrence of injuries en route. The types of injuries that can occur vary according to the depth, size, location, and quantity of the injuries. Staining can be used to determine the age of the lesions and estimate the time when the injury occurred, thereby providing information that can be used to make changes in the trucking of cattle in order to decrease or eliminate the injuries. The effects associated with three transportation distances when hauling 20 cows per livestock truck were investigated. The collected data focused on the age, depth, size, quantity, and location of bruises found on beef carcasses slaughtered in the mesoregion of Triângulo Mineiro and Alto Paranaíba, Brazil, in January of 2012. Materials, Methods & Results: A total of 320 cows were randomly divided into three groups according to the distance traveled via livestock truck from the farm to the slaughterhouse. Each truck carried 20 cows. In groups A (n = 140), B (n = 40), and C (n = 140), the cattle traveled 50 to 60 km, 90 to 110 km, and 140 to 166 km, respectively. Any extant contu-sions were visually observed on the production line after skinning, and relevant data were recorded using the respective animal's identifi cation tag as the identifi er and analyzed. Of the 320 animals analyzed, 285 (89.06%) had one or more lesions (i.e., a total of 682 bruises in the entire sample), which is consistent with the results of similar studies found in the literature. Distances did not statistically infl uence the amount of bruising. For all distance conditions, the anatomical site on the cow with the highest incidence of injuries was the hindquarter (71.41%), and the lowest incidence was the loin (4.55%). No association between distance and location of bruises was observed. For all groups, a majority (48.09%) of the bruises were small (i.e., 2-8 cm in diameter), whereas 36.66% and 15.25% were classifi ed as medium (i.e., 9-16 cm in diameter) and large (i.e., more than 16 cm in diameter), respectively. An association between the site of injury and depth was observed. Most contusions (62.02%) were older (i.e., occurred more than 24 h before data collection), but 37.98% occurred less than 24 h before data collection. Discussion: Previous studies that analyzed the number of bruises in cattle reported similar results to those found in the present study. The fact that distance and the amount of bruising do not correlate can be explained; i.e., injuries depend on many factors beyond distance traveled, such as the type of road traveled, number of stops, truck speed, time of travel, road conditions, and specifi c driver ability. The anatomical site with the highest incidence of injuries, i.e., the hindquarter, contains the larger muscle groups, thereby potentially predisposing it to a greater number of injuries. The small lesions (i.e., 2 to 8 cm in diameter) were the most prevalent independent of transport distance and affected only the subcutaneous tissue, thereby leading to less damage to the meat. Old bruises (i.e., occurred more than 24 h prior to identifi cation) were most numerous in total and for each condition and were characterized by a yellowish color. Given their age, these injuries may have been caused by inadequate management on the farm, especially during the process of separating the cattle for transport, and not necessarily during the actual transport or at slaughterhouse.
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    Archivos de Medicina Veterinaria 12/2013; 46(1):93-101. DOI:10.4067/S0301-732X2014000100013 · 0.41 Impact Factor


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