Handling, bruising and dehydration of cattle at the ...

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Title Handling, bruising and dehydration of cattle at the time of slaughter
Author(s) A. M. Jarvis, C. D. A. Messer, M. S. Cockram
Journal Animal Welfare
Date 1996
Volume 5
Issue 3
Start page 259
End page 270
Abstract The handling of 39 cattle during unloading and movement to slaughter of 163 was observed at a commercial abattoir. Most potentially traumatic events and handling events occurred while the cattle were in the race. During the initial 3 hours in the lairage pen, 28 cattle from markets spent significantly more time drinking than did those 11 sent to slaughter direct from farms. Most cattle had bruises (99%; n = 181), but there was no difference between the occurrence of bruising in cattle direct from farms and those from markets. Bruise score was not affected by the distance transported from farms 18-201 km (11-125 miles). However, cattle from markets >64 km (>40 miles) from the abattoir had greater bruise scores than did those from nearer markets 0.8-64 km (0.5-40 miles). No correlations were found between potentially traumatic events at the abattoir 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, but there was no difference in plasma osmolality and packed cell volume (PCV). Cattle from distant markets > 129 km (> 80 miles) had higher PCV and plasma total protein concentration than those from markets within 129 km (80 miles). The overall results suggest that cattle from markets, particularly those transported for a distance greater than 64 km (40 miles), would benefit from greater access to water at the market and from improved methods of handling and transport before arrival at the abattoir.

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