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Assessment of cattle welfare at a commercial slaughter plant in the northwest of Mexico

Abstract

Slaughter plants have been undergoing radical transformations in recent years due to the need to increase efficiency and incorporate new technologies for the improvement of the infrastructure, animal welfare, and product quality. The aim of this study was to assess the cattle welfare status during the unloading, lairage, stunning, bleeding and quantify bruising incidence at a commercial slaughter plant in the northwest of Mexico. We monitored 8,118 cattle during the unloading, lairage, stunning, bleeding, and carcass bruise incidence. Our results showed that in the unloading stage, 2% of the cattle vocalized, 5% were prodded with an electric goad, and 4% either slipped or fell. In the lairage stage, 12% of the animals vocalized, 80% prodded with an electric goad, and 8% of the animals slipped or fell. In the stunning stage, 10% of the animals vocalized, 67% prodded with an electric goad, and 15% of the animals slipped or fell. Ninety-five percent of the animals were stunned with a single shot, and 51% of the animals were effectively desensitized. Ninety-two percent of the carcasses had some type of bruise. Although the slaughter plant had adequate infrastructure and stringent operational standards, in all of the stages except unloading handling had an impact on the welfare of the animals being slaughtered.

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Acknowledgements

A. Barreras-Serrano, F. Figueroa-Saavedra, and G.C. Miranda-de la Lama are members of the National Research System (SNI) of México.

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Correspondence to Genaro C. Miranda-de la Lama or Fernando Figueroa-Saavedra.

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Miranda-de la Lama, G.C., Leyva, I.G., Barreras-Serrano, A. et al. Assessment of cattle welfare at a commercial slaughter plant in the northwest of Mexico. Trop Anim Health Prod 44, 497–504 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11250-011-9925-y

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11250-011-9925-y

Keywords

  • Animal welfare assessment
  • Cattle
  • Unloading
  • Lairage
  • Stunning
  • Bruising
  • México