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Recent bruising in cattle at abattoirs
  1. P. W. McNally, MSc1 and
  2. P. D. Warriss, BSc, PhD, MIBiol1
  1. 1 Department of Clinical Veterinary Science, University of Bristol, Langford, Bristol BS18 7DY


In two surveys of a total of over 16,000 cattle carcases, animals from live auctions had more bruising and more meat rejected for bruising than animals from dealers and farms. The proportion of carcases with stick-markings was higher in market cattle (2.5 per cent) than in cattle from farms (0.9 per cent). The amount of bruising was much higher in animals which were stick-marked (35 per cent) than in the whole population surveyed (6.5 per cent). Young bulls had the lowest percentage of bruising and the least amount of meat rejected of all the categories of animals surveyed. There was less ‘important’ bruising in animals travelling less than 50 miles from markets, but over 50 miles the amount of ‘important’ bruising did not increase. However, the incidence of all bruising increased with the distance travelled and with the time the animal spent in the lairage. More than half the carcases surveyed (59 per cent) had some degree of bruising caused by preslaughter handling. The areas most frequently bruised were the butt and hip, loin, shoulder/foreleg and neck, hind leg and flank/brisket. The number of carcases with an ultimate pH (pHu) of over 5.8 and the average pHu of the muscle increased with the amount of carcase bruising.

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