Article

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: 1.65). 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 the study was to determine the effects of animal related factors on bruising in slaughter cattle, creatine kinase (CK) and beef quality. Three hundred and twenty one cattle from three breeds (108 Bonsmara, 130 Beefmaster and 83 Brahman) were used in this study. The animals were grouped as follows: Group 1 (16 months old), Group 2 (18 months old) and Group 3 (24 months old). At exsanguinations, blood samples for CK determination were collected using disposable vacutainer tubes. Muscularis longissimus thoracis et lumborum (LTL) was collected 24 h after slaughter to determine the colour (L*, a*, and b*) and ultimate pH (pHu) of beef. Breed, sex and age had significant effects (p<0.05) on bruising score, CK levels and beef quality. Bonsmara breed had the highest (80%) bruising score percentage, CK (705.380.57 U/L) and pHu (6.30.05) values while the Bonsmara had the highest L* (24.80.78) a* (17.50.53) and b* (12.80.53) values. Higher CK levels were also observed in winter compared to summer, spring and autumn respectively. Therefore, animal factors (sex, breed and animal age at slaughter) contribute to the development of bruises and have an effect on the levels of CK and meat quality. It was also concluded that there is no significant relationship between meat parameters (L,* a*, and b*) and CK levels. (Key Words: Age at Slaughter, Beef Quality, Bruising, Creatine Kinase, Meat pH, Season)
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