Home About Browse Search

Animal handling and stress-related behaviour at mobile slaughter of cattle

Hultgren, Jan and Arvidsson Segerkvist, Katarina and Berg, Lotta and Karlsson, Anders and Algers, Bo (2020). Animal handling and stress-related behaviour at mobile slaughter of cattle. Preventive Veterinary Medicine. 177 , 104959 , 1-11
[Research article]

[img] PDF
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.



By avoiding animal transportation, mobile slaughter may have the potential to reduce animal stress. In a cross-sectional study with elements of cohort design, we investigated relationships between animal handling and stress-related animal behaviours in connection with slaughter at two Swedish slaughter plants: a newly started small-scale on-farm mobile abattoir and a relatively large-scale stationary slaughterhouse. To the stationary plant, the animals were transported on average 99 km from farms, and one third of these animals spent one night in lairage before slaughter. Data were collected during processing of 298 animals at both plants during one year. Stockperson actions and animal behaviours were observed in the driveways (2.4-7.3m long) to the stun box. Data on season, hour of day, air temperature, animal breed, animal category, animal age, carcass weight and stockperson category (plant or farm) were also collected. We used Spearman rank correlation, principal-component analysis and confirmatory factor analysis to develop a final generalised structural equation model, which contained six variables that represented observed animal backing; turning; slipping; eliminating; vocalising; and violent behaviour, regressed on a latent variable representing animal stress level. Stress level and animal behaviours were also regressed on five variables representing observed stockperson actions (touching, patting or hitting with hand; touching, patting or hitting with a tool; pushing; tail-twisting; and prodding with an electric goad) and on background variables including plant identity. The animal behaviours were modelled as counts per driveway length, clustered on farm identity. Marginal effects of stockperson actions and predictive margins of plants were calculated. The animals displayed backing and violent behaviour (kicking, goring or violent fighting) at significantly lower frequencies at the mobile plant than at the stationary one. In general, stockperson actions were significantly positively associated with animal behaviours, i.e. increased actions were associated with more frequent behaviours. Stockperson moving with tool, pushing and using electric goad were indirectly significantly associated with all animal behaviours via animal stress level. This study shows the importance of adequate cattle handling to limit pre-slaughter stress.

Authors/Creators:Hultgren, Jan and Arvidsson Segerkvist, Katarina and Berg, Lotta and Karlsson, Anders and Algers, Bo
Title:Animal handling and stress-related behaviour at mobile slaughter of cattle
Series Name/Journal:Preventive Veterinary Medicine
Year of publishing :2020
Article number:104959
Number of Pages:11
Publication Type:Research article
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Accepted version
Copyright:Creative Commons: Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0
Full Text Status:Public
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 4 Agricultural Sciences > 402 Animal and Dairy Science > Animal and Dairy Science.
Keywords:Animal behaviour, Animal handling, Cattle, Human-animal interaction, Mobile slaughter, Stress
Permanent URL:
Additional ID:
Type of IDID
Web of Science (WoS)000528250800007
ID Code:17422
Faculty:VH - Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science
Department:(VH) > Dept. of Animal Environment and Health
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:29 Oct 2020 08:48
Metadata Last Modified:17 Mar 2021 00:15

Repository Staff Only: item control page


Downloads per year (since September 2012)

View more statistics