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Effect of transport time on cattle welfare and meat quality

Gebresenbet, Girma and Wikner, Isabelle and Ladberg, Eva and Holm, Patrik and Nilsson, Christer and Svensson, Lars (2005). Effect of transport time on cattle welfare and meat quality. Technical Report. Uppsala: ?? 4072 ??, Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet. Rapport. Miljö, teknik och lantbruk ; 2005:0
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Abstract

The current report deals with the effect of transport time and associated transport conditions on animal welfare and meat quality. The work is part of the EU EU and Animal Welfare Agency /Swedish Board of Agriculture, funded project CATRA (QLK5—1999-01507: Minimising stress inducing factors on cattle during handling and transport to improve animal welfare and meat quality: www.bt.slu.se/catra/). The project was composed of eight work packages: Baseline survey, Effect of transport time (below 14 hours and long distance more than 14 hours), Effect of vibration and motion (to be conducted both in laboratory and field conditions), Optimising pre-and post-transport handling, Air quality in the vehicles, cattle transport logistics including route optimisation, and development of control system. The purpose of the project was to gather sufficient data and to develop methods for controlling and minimizing stress inducing factors during handling and transport of cattle; develop guide-lines and recommendation for end-users, such as meat and vehicle industries and the policy makers, to improve animal welfare and meat quality on the European level. This could be fulfilled through optimization of design of handling areas, transport vehicles, and transport-associated conditions, and by promoting an IT-supported effective logistic system. Hence cattle welfare and meat quality will be improved, thereby enhancing the economic competitiveness of producers and abattoirs. As part of CATRA, this part of the project is the work done in Sweden regarding the effect of transport time, with the objective of determining the effect of transport time (up to ll hours) on animal welfare and post mortem meat quality, when cattle are transported from farms to abattoirs by commercial vehicles. The ultimate objective is to optimise transport time in relation to welfare and meat quality taking into consideration other stress inducing factors. Animals on which the experiments performed were cows, heifers, bulls and calves. Response parameters that were considered were: blood parameters (cortisol, glucose, lactate, CK,), clinical parameters (heart rate, postural stability), meat parameters (bruising score, PH-24, tenderness), and ethological parameters. Input parameters considered were parameters for loading facilities (ramps, lifts), penning systems (stocking density, social group, standing orientation, design of loading compartment), air quality (air speed, relative humidity, evenness of temperature in the compartment, level of NH3, CO2), vibration, transport time, resting time, and feeding regimes. Simultaneous and continuous measurement of heart rate, body temperature, air quality parameters, and video recording was conducted from farm to the abattoirs. Blood samples were taken before and after transport, and also during resting. The results obtained indicated that the transport and handling events are stressful for the animals as a whole, and loading and un-loading are among the most stressful events in the studied conditions. Regarding transport time, the results showed that transport time after six hours is particularly stressful for the animals when transported with usual vehicles without special equipments. In this case, it was reported a significant correlation between transport time and animal stress evaluated by physiological parameters. However, less detrimental effect of transport time on meat quality has been observed. It may therefore be concluded that transport time has influences more on animal welfare than meat quality when transported in conventional vehicles. Transport preceding and initiating conditions and processes such as keeping system, preparation, loading, planning and management, as well as unloading and lairage at the end of the transport chain are important challenges bearing various possibilities to improve welfare and meat quality. Loading and unloading facilities (such as ramp, driveways, and side-block) and quality, of floor have significant influence on both welfare and meat quality. Cattle from tied housing systems are more stressed by transport than untied cattle and there is a greater risk to develop bad carcass- and meat quality. As regard to air quality, the concentration level of ammonia and carbon dioxide increase with transport time and it occasionally passes the acceptable level when only natural ventilation is used. During the field experiment no detectable methane has been found. To prevent thermal stress, the installation of mechanical ventilation system (both for cooling and heating purposes) is recommended. The conclusions deduced from the current studies are as follows: - Transport conditions, as a whole is stressful for animals and compromise their welfare. - Loading and unloading activities are the most stress inducing factors identified using the heart rate measurements and behaviour observations - Result of the analysis of blood parameters showed that level of stress correlates with transport time. Calves are most sensitive to transport time followed by bulls, and cows are relatively less sensitive to transport length. - Transport time after six hours is stressful for the animals when transported with usual vehicles without special equipments. However, less detrimental effect of transport time on meat quality has been observed, - The evenness of temperature in the loading pens depends on season and number of stops - Concentration level of ammonia and carbon dioxide increase with transport time and it occasionally passes the acceptable level.

Authors/Creators:Gebresenbet, Girma and Wikner, Isabelle and Ladberg, Eva and Holm, Patrik and Nilsson, Christer and Svensson, Lars
Title:Effect of transport time on cattle welfare and meat quality
Series/Journal:Rapport. Miljö, teknik och lantbruk (1652-3237)
Year of publishing :2005
Number:2005:0
Number of Pages:73
Place of Publication:Uppsala
Publisher:Institutionen för biometri och teknik, Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet
ISSN:1652-3237
Language:English
Publication Type:Report
Full Text Status:Public
Subjects:Obsolete subject words > FORESTRY, AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES and LANDSCAPE PLANNING > Product science > Food science
Obsolete subject words > FORESTRY, AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES and LANDSCAPE PLANNING > Animal production > Animal nutrition and management
Keywords:Animal Transport, Transport time, animal welfare, handling, meat quality, air quality, long transport
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-1-187
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-1-187
ID Code:3809
Department:?? 4072 ??
Deposited By: Erica Lövgren
Deposited On:15 Sep 2009 00:00
Metadata Last Modified:02 Dec 2014 10:25

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