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Optimizing welfare in transport and slaughter of cattle

Code: 9781786769510
Jan Shearer, Iowa State University, USA

Chapter synopsis: Transport represents one of the most stressful events an animal may experience. Its impact on the welfare of beef and dairy cattle is frequently underestimated, as are the effects of transport on carcass quality issues such as bruises and dark cutting beef. For ease of discussion, the process is broken down into three phases: pre-transport, transport and arrival at slaughter. The pre-transport phase includes selection of animals to be removed from herds and determining their fitness for travel, and making preparations based upon weather conditions, time and distance to the ultimate destination. The behavioral tendency of cattle to stand during transport increases stress, fatigue and the potential for injury as time in transit increases, especially for compromised animals. Upon arrival at slaughter, animals should exit at that their own speed into an alleyway that provides an obvious unrestricted path to follow in route to a holding pen. The holding pen should provide immediate access to water and be large enough to avoid overcrowding of animals. The movement of animals from the pre-slaughter holding pen to the alleyway leading to the stun box should move in an orderly and calm manner with little, or preferably no use of prodding devices. Once the animal enters the restrainer, stunning should proceed without delay.

DOI: 10.19103/AS.2020.0084.13
Table of contents 1 Introduction 2 Culling and permanent herd removals 3 Transport of cattle to markets and slaughter facilities 4 Trends in transport of dairy and beef cattle 5 Muscling and body condition of cull cows arriving at slaughter plants 6 Hide and carcass bruising evaluation 7 Optimising welfare during the pre-transport stage 8 Welfare of cattle during transport 9 Welfare of cattle at slaughter 10 Summary 11 Where to look for further information 12 References

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