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Effects of Pre-slaughter Stress on Carcass/meat Quality: Implications for Botswana

Author(s): Molebeledi HD Mareko

Journal: Journal of Animal and Veterinary Advances
ISSN 1680-5593

Volume: 4;
Issue: 9;
Start page: 761;
Date: 2005;
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Keywords: Antemortem handling | carcass/meat quality | dark-firm-dry (DFD) meat | pale-soft-exudative (PSE) meat | pre-slaughter stress

The study will discussed the effects of pre-slaughter stress on meat animals and consequently, on the end product which is the carcass/meat. Meat consumers nowadays are increasingly demanding that animals be reared, handled, transported and slaughtered humanely. In Botswana animals submitted to processing plants for slaughter are usually exposed to a lot of stressful situations immediately before slaughter. They are transported in trucks and/or trekked on foot for very long distances even during extremes of weather, with minimal chances of grazing, drinking water and resting. The stressful conditions through which the animals undergo have been proven to have deleterious effects on the quality of the animals carcasses and/or meat. These conditions according to a lot of literature lead to dark, firm and dry and pale, soft and exudative meat. Although physiochemical quality of meat can be improved through post-slaughter carcass handling treatments, the general consumer perception of carcass/meat quality (shelf life, visual appearance and palatability) can only be enhanced by improved animal handling practices such as reducing pre-slaughter stress. Based on literature, recommendations are made from which animal handlers in Botswana can learn, so that where possible, stressful situations on animals are avoided or minimised during periods immediately prior to slaughter.
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