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Handling of sheep at markets and the incidence of bruising
  1. AM Jarvis and
  2. MS Cockram
  1. Department of Veterinary Clinical Studies, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh, Roslin, Midlothian.


Most sheep sent for slaughter in the United Kingdom are sold through livestock markets. This study counted the potentially bruising events at two markets handling 12,119 sheep in 549 groups and recorded the bruises on carcases of sheep from these markets. There were 1324 and 744 potentially bruising events per 1000 sheep at markets A and B, respectively. The unloading of 1501 sheep in 40 groups and the pre-slaughter handling of 1085 sheep in 60 groups were observed at the commercial slaughterhouse where the bruises were recorded. The number of potentially bruising events at the slaughterhouse was 694 per 1000 sheep. The bruising on the carcases of 58 groups of sheep from market A and 29 groups from market B, and of 30 groups of sheep sent to slaughter direct from farms was assessed. The sheep from market A had 581 bruises per 1000 sheep, those from market B had 377 per 1000 sheep, and the sheep sent direct from farms had 399 bruises per 1000 sheep. There were some differences in the distribution of the bruises on the carcases from the three sources, but no significant differences between the total numbers of bruises.

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