Economic loss from transportation stress in slaughter cattle: the case of Akinyele cattle market, Nigeria
Stress results from the action of one or more stressors that may be of either external or internal origin. Transportation is considered a major stressor for farm animals and might have deleterious effects on health, well-being, performance, and ultimately, product quality. During a 3 month period (July and September), a total number of 16,140 cattle (5,880 bulls and 10,260 cows) were transported from different sources to Akinyele cattle market, Nigeria. However, 16 (0.1%) cattle died in transit. The number of moribund and bruised cattle among the number transported to Akinyele cattle market were 85 (0.53%) and 360 (2.22%) respectively. The estimated economic loss due to transportation stress was N1, 000,000 (US$7,692) and N531, 250 (US$4,086) respectively for cattle that died in transit (DIT) and moribund cattle respectively. Sources of stress include; use of inappropriate vehicle, cattle tied to one another in a recumbent position, overloading, lack of rest, and water deprivation to cattle in transit, beating and kicking of cattle during loading and unloading. Avoiding transportation stress will help in reducing the associated economic loss and poor carcass quality. We therefore recommend that the current cattle transportation system be improved for optimal animal welfare and minimization of excessive stress, injuries, mortality, and (or) carcass quality defects.
Key words: Stress, Cattle, Economic loss, Transportation, Nigeria, public health