Translational Animal Science Abstract -

Assessment of risk factors contributing to carcass bruising in fed cattle at commercial slaughter facilities


This article in TAS

  1. Vol. 1 No. 4, p. 489-497
    unlockOPEN ACCESS
    Received: Aug 15, 2017
    Accepted: Sept 14, 2017
    Published: October 19, 2017

    1 Corresponding author(s):
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  1. T. L. Lee 1*,
  2. C. D. Reinhardt,
  3. S. J. Bartle,
  4. C. I. Vahl§,
  5. M. Siemens# and
  6. D. U. Thomson
  1. * North American Meat Institute, Washington, DC 20036
     Reinhardt Nutrition Consulting, LLC, Katy, TX 77494
     Bartle Consulting, Manhattan, KS 66502
    § Department of Statistics, Kansas State University, Manhattan 66506
    # Arrowsight, Mt. Kisco, NY 10549
     Department of Diagnostic Medicine & Pathobiology, Kansas State University, Manhattan 66506


Cattle injuries can occur during transportation due to vehicle design, transport conditions, and loading or unloading procedures and lead to carcass bruising and economic loss due to decreased carcass value. The objectives of this study were to determine whether a relationship exists between trauma incurred during unloading and prevalence of carcass bruising in finished beef cattle at commercial slaughter facilities and determine related risk factors which contribute to both trauma and carcass bruising. Breed (classified as either Holstein cattle or beef breeds), sex, distance traveled, and trailer type (“fat/feeder combination” vs. “fat” trailer) were considered risk factors which may contribute to traumatic event prevalence. When carcass bruise prevalence within each lot was used as the dependent variable, breed, sex, distance traveled, traumatic event prevalence, ribeye area, fat thickness, yield grade, and average carcass weight were considered potential risk factors. Carcass bruises were categorized by location and size, according to the Harvest Audit Program Carcass Bruise Scoring System. Traumatic events were observed while cattle exited trailers onto the unloading docks, and were categorized by location on the animal. Average traumatic event prevalence per lot was 20.4% (± 1.11%). Average carcass bruise prevalence by lot was 68.2% (± 1.15%). There was an interaction between breed and trailer type when multiple linear regression was used to explore variables contributing to traumatic events observed at unloading (P ≤ 0.05). Traumatic events were not associated with prevalence of carcass bruising, while average carcass weight and breed were associated with carcass bruising prevalence. Carcass bruising was more prevalent in Holstein cattle than in cattle which were predominantly beef breeds (P ≤ 0.01). Average carcass weight was negatively associated with carcass bruise prevalence (P ≤ 0.05). The association between traumatic events at unloading and carcass bruising is not significant when multiple variables are considered, indicating that bruising may occur at numerous other points prior to and during the transportation process, including loading and transport, and that other variables can contribute to carcass bruise prevalence. These areas should be explored to determine all potential causes of bruising in beef carcasses, and to help implement prevention practices.

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