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Effect of pre-slaughter housing of different cattle categories on beef quality

Andrzej Wêglarz
Department of Cattle Breeding, University of Agriculture in Cracow, Mickiewicza 24/28, 30-059 Krakَw, Poland
Abstract :

The aim of the study was to determine optimal pre-slaughter handling procedures (individual or
group housing) for various slaughter cattle categories. Subjects were 842 Black-and-White Polish
Holstein-Friesian slaughter cattle, classified into four EUROP categories . bulls up to 24 months of
age (A), bulls older than 24 months (B), cows which had had offspring before (D), and heifers (E).
Slaughter value, colour and pH characteristics of beef from these cattle categories were studied.
Housing method had no significant effect on carcass composition. The pH48 of meat from grouphoused
young bulls (A) and older bulls (B) was higher and the colour parameters were significantly
lower compared to meat from individually housed animals of the two categories. No effect of preslaughter
housing on the pH48 and colour parameters of meat was found for cows (D) and heifers (E).
Abnormally high pH (>5.8) was much more frequent (over 63%) for meat from group-housed A and
B animals than for meat from individually-housed animals (about 30%). Correlation coefficients
show that pH48 was negatively correlated at P.0.001 with colour coordinates L*, a*, b* and C*
(-0.39, -0.24, -0.22 and -0.25, respectively). It can be concluded that conditions of pre-slaughter
housing of cattle in the slaughterhouse significantly affected the quality traits of beef obtained from
young bulls (A) and bulls (B). Hence, the pre-slaughter handling should be differentiated according
to the sex of animals . it may be more economically justified, despite higher cost, to keep males
individually while heifers and cows in groups, prior to slaughter.

Keywords :
cattle/ pre-slaughter housing/ longissimus thoracis muscle / meat pH and colour

Date Deposited : 21 Jun 2011 16:00

Last Modified : 21 Jun 2011 16:00

Official URL:

Volume 29, Number 1, - 2011

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