South African Journal of Animal Science

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Effect of slaughter technique on bleed-out, blood in the trachea and blood splash in the lungs of cattle

B Agbeniga, EC Webb


The South African Animal Protection Law, which requires animals to be stunned before slaughter, allows certain exemptions to accommodate religious slaughter. The supporters of the Jewish method of slaughter (Shechita), in which animals are slaughtered without pre-stunning, claim that the bleed-out and some quality parameters are better than when the animals are stunned before slaughtering. In this study, the percentage blood loss (BL%), presence (%) of blood in the trachea (BLT%) and blood splash % in the lungs (BS%), between the Shechita (Kosher) group and the conventionally slaughtered group of cattle were compared. Results showed no significant difference between the two treatment groups in terms of blood loss, although the conventional group had a higher bleed-out. However, there were significant differences in the presence of blood in the trachea and blood splash in the lungs, with the Kosher group having the highest percentages of these quality defects. Out of 170 animals examined for Kosher, 93% had blood lining the trachea, ranging from one to over 50%. From the 141 animals examined for the conventionally-slaughtered group, 97% had no blood lining the trachea while the remaining 3% had less than 10% blood lining the trachea. Furthermore, 65% of animals slaughtered in the Kosher way had blood splash ranging from 5% to over 50%, while the conventional group had only 0.7% incidence of blood splash in the lungs. These results show that slaughtering animals without stunning do not improve bleed-out, but increase blood in the trachea and blood splash in the lungs.

Keyword: Blood loss, conventional slaughter, Kosher slaughter (Shechita), sticking, stunning
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