Welfare of lambs subjected to road transport and assessment of carcasses and meat

Fredson V. Silva Iran Borges Ângela M.Q. Lana Ana L.C.C. Borges Hemilly C.M. Sá Vandenberg L. Silva Leonardo R.N. Alves Fernando A. Souza About the authors


This study aimed to assess the level of welfare in lambs by road transport and their carcasses and meat. Thus, we assessed behavioral parameters during transport, physiological parameters after landing and before slaughter and carcass and meat characteristics of lambs. Four road transports were achieved with increasing durations (1h45min, 3h52min, 7h30min and 10h30min), there were twenty lambs in each transport. Animals body weight was 36.64±2.13 kg before transport. The lambs were slaughtered 15 hours after landing. The lambs lie down (median equal to zero every 20min) for a short time in journeys shorter than 3h52min. The number of potentially traumatic events is low (median near zero every 20min) for any transport duration. The adrenaline and cortisol concentrations, as well as metabolites that are controlled by them, did not testify that longer transport. However, the carcasses mass decreased and creatine kinase concentrations increased linearly with longer transports, which may reveal decrease in welfare. The meat quality of lambs was not influenced by the transport duration.

Welfare; lambs; transport; carcasses; meat; stress; pre-slaughter; sheep.

Colégio Brasileiro de Patologia Animal - CBPA Pesquisa Veterinária Brasileira, Caixa Postal 74.591, 23890-000 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil, Tel./Fax: (55 21) 2682-1081 - Rio de Janeiro - RJ - Brazil
E-mail: pvb@pvb.com.br