Extended transportation is a stressful event for animals. Just ask cow Brianna, a recent fugitive in New Jersey who fell or jumped from a delivery truck to the slaughterhouse. Although events like these are not common, the whole and health of the family being transported – regardless of the end point – is an important concern with livestock.
Before, during and after transport, cows are exposed to many stressors. Stress is an additive, and transportation conditions such as temperature, density, location on the truck, transit time and body condition prior to transportation all play a role in determining stress levels. The stress is too strong, the animal arrives at the destination injured or uncooperative – lame, unmedicated or dead.
What are these stressors and can they be minimized for better cow outcomes? Why do some live cows escape in transit with little lasting results, while others arrive at their destination unadapted?
Transport is stressful for even the healthiest cows. Cows must be established, can be housed with unfamiliar cows, be in an unfamiliar environment, cannot eat, and must expend energy to maintain balance in a moving vehicle .
“It’s a feat to maintain balance, even for short periods of time. Karen Schwartzkopf-Genswein, Senior Research Scientist at Agriculture and Agriculture Canada
She shared research data and processes to reduce animal stress and prevent bad outcomes when transporting beef during a recent webinar.
According to a statement from the National Beef Association, “animal stress levels at harvest have a significant effect on the quality of meat obtained from animals. The flesh of the high tension extension tends to be colored and chewy, while the stressed extension produces a much tastier and tender product. ”
Other animals that cannot withstand the stress of transport include animals that are obstructed or dehydrated, animals in shock, suspected nervous system disorders, less than two days old, and unable to be independent. To ensure the quality of the beef, the researchers directly examined the moving objects as they reached the point to classify their state. They also considered age, sex, body condition and transport score as well as other criteria when evaluating animals.
For animals sold at auction, 87% of cows judged unsuitable are regularly slaughtered, while only 40% of cows deemed unfit to go to the Canadian abattoir are slaughtered. slaughter. harvested for meat, she said. Upon arrival at the provincial slaughterhouse, more than 80% of animals re-inspected for nonconformity were slaughtered regularly. In this part of the study, between 69%-98% of all cows were born in healthy state.
Transporting beef is not easy, in order to get good quality beef, it is necessary to note the following issues:
The size and design of the transport vehicle must be appropriate for the number of animals transported. Vehicles must be in good repair to ensure that pets arrive uninjured and in the shortest possible time. Containers must be well designed to minimize bruising. A well-designed enclosure will have a wide and smooth contact surface without projections where the animal could bruise. The cage should be about 3 meters in length to give more support to the animals during movement and thus reduce stress and allow them to adapt to transport more easily.
Caring for livestock after transportation
It is important to make sure there are enough vehicles to unload livestock when returning them to your facility. It is necessary to have a yard or a small lawn to keep livestock for the first few days.
Keeping livestock in a small paddock or lawn for the first few days will help them settle down and calm down.
Make sure no injuries can happen during transportation, no cows are in poor health
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