Relationships of behavioral and physiological symptoms of preslaughter stress to beef longissimus muscle tenderness.
ABSTRACT Relationships between behavioral and physiological symptoms of preslaughter stress and LM Warner-Bratzler shear force (WBSF) were investigated using Bos taurus steers (n = 79) and heifers (n = 77). Measurements of heart rate, respiration rate, rectal temperature, and concentrations of serum cortisol and plasma epinephrine were used as indicators of stress associated with physical handling and chute restraint, whereas concentrations of cortisol, glucose, lactate, and creatine kinase in blood samples obtained at exsanguination were measured to reflect physiological reactions of animals to transportation stress. Increased plasma epinephrine concentration, indicative of acute handling stress, was associated with elevated heart rate (r = 0.42, P < 0.001) and rectal temperature (r = 0.34, P < 0.001) during restraint, increased plasma lactate (r = 0.22, P = 0.006) and serum creatine kinase (r = 0.28, P < 0.001) concentrations at slaughter, and greater LM WBSF (r = 0.22, P = 0.006). Plasma lactate concentration at slaughter, which reflected an adrenergic stress response to transportation, was associated with lesser final LM pH (r = -0.30, P < 0.001) and greater LM WBSF (r = 0.26, P = 0.002). Categorical analyses of chute and posttransportation behavior scores (calm vs. restless vs. nervous) showed that cattle exhibiting adverse behavioral reactions to handling and chute restraint had increased (P < 0.05) values for plasma epinephrine concentration, heart rate, and rectal temperature during chute restraint, elevated (P < 0.05) plasma lactate concentration at slaughter, and increased (P < 0.05) LM WBSF. In addition, cattle showing behavioral symptoms of stress after transportation had greater (P < 0.05) plasma glucose and lactate concentrations at slaughter and produced LM steaks that were 0.34 kg tougher (P < 0.05) when compared with calm cattle. No carcasses were identified as dark cutters, and LM pH did not differ (P > 0.05) among behavior categories. Grouping cattle according to differences in plasma lactate concentration categorized them according to mean differences in LM WBSF. Moreover, steaks from cattle with the greatest plasma lactate concentrations at slaughter (91st to 100th percentile) had a delayed response to aging that persisted until 14 d postmortem. Stress-induced differences in LM tenderness observed in this study were independent of differences in muscle pH.
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ABSTRACT: Young adults in developed countries are distanced from agriculture and the meat industry needs to do a better job of communicating with them. A major welfare concern is slaughter without stunning. Other concerns, such as poor stunning or high levels of bruising, can be easily corrected by management who is committed to maintaining high standards. Another concern is biological system overload, occurring when animals are bred for more productivity. Researchers and industry need to determine optimum production levels instead of maximums. Retailers are major drivers of animal welfare standards enforcement and they respond to pressure from both activists and consumers.Meat Science 11/2014; · 2.23 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Differences in pre-harvest stress measurements and carcass characteristics between kosher and not-qualified-as-kosher cattle were evaluated. Finished heifers (n = 157) were slaughtered by a shochet while held in an upright position using Glatt slaughter procedures. Stress measurements were collected prior to slaughter. Carcass data were collected, and 3.8-cm thick samples were taken from the loin at the 13th rib. Steaks from each sample were evaluated for mechanical tenderness and simulated retail display. Cattle with shorter times from gate to exsanguination and lower vocalization scores were more likely (P < 0.01) to qualify as kosher. Kosher carcasses had larger (P = 0.02) ribeye areas and higher (P < 0.0001) Warner–Bratzler shear values. At each day of simulated retail display, kosher steaks had lower (P < 0.05) L*, a*, and b* values. These data suggest that body composition and pre-harvest stress affect the likelihood of a beef animal qualifying as kosher and quality differences exist between kosher and non-kosher steaks.Meat Science 02/2015; 100. · 2.23 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: This study evaluated the effect of animal temperament measured using flight speed (FS) on plasma lactate, muscle glycogen and lactate concentrations at slaughter plus ultimate pH in 648 lot finished cattle of mixed breed and sex. Muscle samples were collected at slaughter from the m. semimembranosus, m. semitendinosus and m. longissimus thoracis (LT) for analysis of glycogen and lactate concentration. Blood was collected after exsanguination and analysed for plasma lactate concentration and ultimate pH of the LT was measured. FS had no effect on muscle glycogen concentration in any muscle or ultimate pH of the LT (P>0.05). As FS increased from 1 to 5m/s, plasma and muscle lactate concentration increased by 54% and 11.4% (P<0.01). The mechanisms through which temperament contributes to variation in glycogen metabolism remain unclear. The risk of dark cutting was not impacted by temperament, indicating that other production and genetic factors have a greater impact on the incidence of dark cutting.Meat Science 08/2014; 98(4):815-821. · 2.23 Impact Factor