Main Factors Affecting Animal Welfare and Meat Quality in Lambs for Slaughter in Chile
Animal Science Institute, Faculty of Veterinary Science, OIE Collaborating Centre for Animal Welfare and Livestock Production Systems—Chile, Universidad Austral de Chile, Valdivia 5090000, Chile
Faculty of Veterinary Science, Universidad Austral de Chile, Valdivia 5090000, Chile
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 August 2018 / Revised: 23 September 2018 / Accepted: 24 September 2018 / Published: 27 September 2018
Consumers have become increasingly demanding about the quality of the meat they eat; they want healthy, natural, and palatable products, but are also concerned about animal welfare during production, transport, and slaughter. The way we handle animals does not only affect animal welfare, but also the quality of the meat produced. In this study the main factors affecting the welfare of lambs for slaughter in Chile are reviewed and the implications on meat quality shown. Factors like long distance transport due to difficult geographical reasons, bad roads, and lack of adequate local slaughterhouses appear to have a major impact on the welfare of lambs and also in reducing the quantity and quality of meat produced. Some deficiencies in terms of the handling of the lambs by untrained stockmen and drivers appear, and also inadequate infrastructure for transport in terms of vehicles and loading/unloading ramps. The problems observed are common for other South American countries and should be addressed firstly by educating and training all people involved in the lamb meat chain regarding animal welfare. In Chile there is legislation, ongoing since 2013, regarding the protection of animals during production, transport, and slaughter, including compulsory training of the people involved, which should improve animal welfare and meat quality.