This study was conducted to investigate the causes and the effects of breed, gender and season on carcass condemnations post-mortem in a large South African abattoir. Condemnation of carcasses as a results of animal diseases and conditions has been identified as a problem in the South African beef industry, but the causes and extent of carcass condemnations have not been studied in detail. The importance of cattle management during transportation and pre-slaughter is generally appreciated, but a better understanding of the influence of breed, gender and season on the prevalence of carcass condemnations can help to improve slaughter management at large abattoirs.
Diseases and conditions evaluated during this study were parafilaria, bruising, soiling, fever, peritonitis and pleuritis, abscesses, measles, oedema and intramuscular haemorrhage. Breeds of cattle slaughtered were Friesland, Bonsmara, Brahman, Angus, Afrikander, Hereford and Nguni cattle, grouped as males and females, and the seasonal effects investigated were confined to Autumn, Winter and Summer combined with Spring as it was not easy to distiquish between the two. Data was collected in a Grade A abattoir in South Africa in 2010. The experimental design involved 42 combinations based on their effects and interactions namely 7 breeds x 2 genders x 3 seasons. The model used in this procedure was based on the presence of conditions = (Intercept) x i x j x k where i~breed, j~gender and k~season. The binary response variable was the presence (value = 1) or absence (value = 2) of the respective condition.
Overall, the significant order and extent of causes of bovine carcass condemnations evaluated in this particular abattoir during the period of study were peritonitis and pleuritis at 2.49%, soiling 2.33%, bruising 2.10%, parafilaria 0.54%, while other conditions had a negligible effect. Almost half of these carcass condemnations were due to soiling and bruising, which can be addressed by implementing better abattoir management and better management during transportation.
Peritonitis and pleuritis were prevalent to a greater degree in Autumn, Soiling in Summer, bruising in winter and parafilaria more prevalent in Summer as well. Bonsmara bulls were
more affected by peritonitis and pleuritis, soiling, bruising and parafilari compared to other breeds..
Overall breed, gender and season influenced carcass condemnations in large South African abattoir
It is suggested that proper dehorning should be done at an early stage, especially in bulls of breeds like Bonsmara, Nguni, Friesland and Hereford, which predispose cattle to bruising which increases the number of carcass condemnations. Steps should be taken (i.e. proper handling techniques should be applied) to avoid injuries which may lead to internal bleeding, and eventually bruises (most probably due to fighting during transportation or in lairage), that can be avoided by using improved and upgraded facilities which include enough space per animal. In case of soiling, well-trained slaughter personnel, cattle handlers and cleaners should be hired to prevent bile and soil contamination during evisceration and to avoid mud or manure contamination durinmg lairage. It is recommended that employees be trained to help reduce the high rate of carcass condemnations.
Breeds like Bonsmara and Brahman were more susceptible to peritonitis, pleuritis and parafilaria, so treatrment programmes are advisable for these breeds, especially those from regions where these conditions or diseases are more prevalent.
Dissertation (MSc Agric)--University of Pretoria, 2013.