Steers representative of the most common type, weight and conformation slaughtered in Chile were transported for either three or 16 hours and held in lairage for three, six, 12 or 24 hours. Measurements of liveweight, carcase weight, and the postmortem pH and colour of muscle were made to assess the economic and welfare effects of the different transport and lairage times. Compared with the short journey, the longer journey was associated with a mean (se) reduction in liveweight of 8.5 (2.8) kg, and there was a further decrease of 0.42 (0.18) kg for every hour that the animals were kept in lairage after 16 hours of transport, an increase in final muscle pH, a decrease in muscle luminosity and an increase in the proportion of carcases downgraded because they were classified as ‘dark cutting’. The carcase weights also tended to be lower after the longer journey and after longer periods in lairage.
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