Bruises in Chilean cattle: their characterization, occurrence and relation with pre-slaughter conditions

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU


Bruises on cattle carcass affect the quality of the meat and are indicators of poor welfare conditions. According to the literature the occurrence of bruises is related to pre- slaughter conditions, however their contribution is not clear for Chilean cattle. The aim of this thesis was to provide a better understanding of the relationship between pre-slaughter factors and the occurrence of bruises -from loading until slaughter- under Chilean conditions. Therefore in the first study slaughter records of two Chilean slaughterhouses were analysed.It showed that cows and oxen had higher risk to present bruises compared to steers and heifers. Moreover, animals that passed through a livestock market were more prone to present bruises than animals that came directly from the farm. A large difference in carcass bruise prevalence was found between slaughterhouses and this discrepancy was attributed to differences in the use of the Chilean scoring system and to several constraints of the system itself. Thus a new scoring system was developed and its reliability was assessed showing a highagreement when only one observer performs the scoring. An inventory of the gross characteristics of bruises, based on the refined bruising protocol, was carried out. Animals passing through a livestock market have more bruises than animals transported directly from the farm to the slaughterhouse. This thesis presents evidences of rough handling and animals beaten by sticks at markets.In the last study the causal event of bruises during the pre-slaughter periodwas assessed. It showed that rough handling due to inappropriate use of aids to drive animals during loading and unloading, and inadequate stunning facilities at the slaughterhouse were the areas of most risk for bruising. It was concluded that improvements in the design and maintenance of appropriate structures and training of stock people will reduce the occurrence of bruises and in consequence will lead to better welfare conditions of cattle for slaughter.  


Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Wageningen University
  • Kemp, Bas, Promotor
  • Metz, Jos, Promotor
  • Frankena, Klaas, Co-promotor
  • Gallo, C.B., Co-promotor, External person
Award date25 May 2012
Place of PublicationS.l.
Print ISBNs9789461732255
Publication statusPublished - 25 May 2012


  • cattle
  • bruises
  • bruising
  • characterization
  • risk factors
  • slaughter
  • abattoirs
  • carcasses
  • handling
  • transport of animals
  • stunning
  • chile


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