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Animals 2018, 8(7), 119; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8070119

Relationship between Methods of Loading and Unloading, Carcass Bruising, and Animal Welfare in the Transportation of Extensively Reared Beef Cattle

1
Instituto de Biociencias Veterinarias, Facultad de Veterinaria, Universidad de la República, Lasplaces 1550, Montevideo PC 11600, Uruguay
2
Department of Farm Animal Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Utrecht, Yalelaan 7, 3584 CL Utrecht, The Netherlands
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 21 June 2018 / Revised: 9 July 2018 / Accepted: 13 July 2018 / Published: 17 July 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Farm Animal Transport)
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Simple Summary

In Uruguay, extensive, welfare-friendly beef production is a substantial part of the economy and culture. Transport of beef cattle to the slaughterhouse compromises animal welfare. The objective of this study was to assess transport conditions related to carcass bruising. A total of 242 trucks with 8132 animals were assessed on loading, transport, unloading conditions, and carcass bruising. In 39.3% of the loadings only a flag was used. The fastest unloading time was performed using a flag only. Carcass bruises were assessed by trained observers inside the plant. Although the number of bruises was high, there were no grade 3 bruises, the deepest and severe ones. It appeared that animal welfare training of truck drivers worked out well and the use of flags to move animals increased compared to a previous study in 2008.

Abstract

In Uruguay, extensive, welfare-friendly beef production is a substantial part of the economy and culture. Transport of beef cattle to slaughterhouse compromises animal welfare. The objective of this study was to assess transport conditions related to carcass bruising. A total of 242 trucks with 8132 animals were assessed on loading, transport, unloading conditions, and carcass bruising. Average loading time was 26 min and 21 s and the perception of the truck drivers was correlated with the time took for loading and the use of devices. In 39.3% of the loadings only a flag was used. The average unloading time was 5 min and 54 s with a significant difference in time for the use of devices; only flag 3 min 51 s, cattle prod 6 min 43 s and sticks 8 min 09 s. Of the carcasses observed, 772 (9.5%) had no bruises, 873 (10.7%) had one bruise, 1312 (16.1%) two, 1231 (15.1%) three and 3944 (48.5%) had four or more bruises. Prevalence of bruises were highest on the Tuber-coxea (hip) (29.3%) following forequarter (22.4%), Tuber-ischiadicum (rear) (17.3%), ribs/flank (14.1%), rump/round (10.1%) and loin (6.8%). Bruises were 68.7% grade 1 and 31.3 % grade 2; there were no grade 3, the deepest ones, observed. It appeared that animal welfare training of truck drivers worked out well and the use of flags increased compared to a previous study in 2008. View Full-Text
Keywords: carcass bruises; cattle transport; animal welfare; extensive production system carcass bruises; cattle transport; animal welfare; extensive production system
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Huertas, S.M.; Kempener, R.E.A.M.; van Eerdenburg, F.J.C.M. Relationship between Methods of Loading and Unloading, Carcass Bruising, and Animal Welfare in the Transportation of Extensively Reared Beef Cattle. Animals 2018, 8, 119.

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