Handling, Bruising and Dehydration of Cattle at the Time of Slaughter

Author: Written by Jarvis, A.M.; Messer, C.D.A.; Cockram, M.S.T.

Journal: Animal Welfare, Volume 5, Number 3, August 1996 , pp. 259-270(12)

Abstract: The handling of cattle during unloading (n = 39) and movement to slaughter (n = 163) was observed at a commercial slaughterhouse. Most potentially traumatic events and handling events occurred while the cattle were in the race. During the initial 3 hours in the lairage pen, cattle from markets (n = 28) spent significantly more time drinking than those sent to slaughter direct from farms (n = 11; P 64km (>40 miles) from the slaughterhouse had greater bruise scores than thosefrom nearer markets 0.8–64km (0.5–40 miles) (P < 0.01). No correlations were found between potentially traumatic events at the slaughterhouse and the occurrence of bruising. Plasma total protein concentration and plasma creatine kinase activity in blood collected at exsanguination (n = 170) was significantly greater in cattle from markets than in those from farms (P 129km (> 80 miles) had higher PCV and plasma total protein concentration than those from markets within 129km (80 miles) (1) < 0.05). The overall results suggest that cattle from markets, particularly those transported for a distance greater than 64km (40 miles), would benefit from greater access to water at the market and from improved methods of handling and transport prior to arrival at the slaughterhouse.