Learn about animal welfare applied to meat production

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These are the aspects of animal welfare that must be taken into account when working with beef cattle and producing animal protein.

Santiago Henao VillegasMV, M. Sc., PhD in Bioethics, assured that there are needs related to the facilities, the environment and the management of bovines that directly influence their behavior and mental status, for which reason he detailed how to apply the aspects of BA in the beef production.

Facilities and well-being

In the first place, the evaluation of the environment and the facilities should be done by analyzing the Location, infrastructure, teams Y pathologies, aspects that must be controlled in any production environment. (Read: Animal welfare, a key factor in meat quality)

You have to make sure the Water (quantity, quality and availability), the soil typethe wind (direction and speed), facility design guidance, available services, Access Y environment (neighborhood), which can be determinant factors for well-being.

A good design should consider social factors (interaction between individuals of their species or another), management (interaction between animal and handler), environmental (animal interaction with the environment) and pathological (incidence of diseases).

In social terms, the interaction of an individual with others with which there is no history, becomes a complex aspect since the need to establish a hierarchical order causes competition to arise in the face of an insufficient number of drinkers or feeders.

The flight zone, balance points Y blind areas they are strategies to evaluate the reactivity of the species or races. at the time of mobilize animalsit is key to determine the available space, the presence of grids or channels or other objects that generate fear in the animals.

Painful Practices and Wellness

Keep animals free from pain, injury or disease favors compliance with zootechnical standards. There are standards from the World Organization for Animal Health (OMSA) and the Colombian Agricultural Institute (ICA) that generate guidelines for humanitarian procedures.

There are multiple studies that show how castration or “dehorning” procedures, without minimal tranquilization, analgesia and anesthesia measures, can have a negative impact, triggering negative emotions and stress that affects productive results.

Behavior and well-being

Behavior is the whole set of observable activities that the animal performs when interacting with the environment, therefore, are variables that can be affected in adverse animal welfare conditions.

In addition, animal behavior serves as a reflection of aspects related to health and production, becoming a determining factor when establishing minimum conditions in the housing and management of populations.

In general terms, they are considered two types of behaviors: the innate, that is, the one that is inherited and allows one to adapt to the environment that surrounds it; the second is the acquiredwhich is achieved through learning, which modifies instinct.

The lack of adaptation to the environment is generally expressed by an increase in the animal’s movement, which suggests that increasing physical activity releases a quantity of endorphins, which partially or definitively help to reduce the sensation of tension and stress.

You must be very attentive to behaviors with prolonged inactivity, hyperactivity, unconventional movements or non-anatomical postures, and excessive alarm reaction. (Read: Animal welfare: an ethical but also an economic issue)

Transport, slaughter and welfare

The links prior to the benefit of animals, including transportation, have become variables associated with the welfare and quality of meat. The boarding, transport and unloading process must be carried out in the most harmonious way possible.. The conventional herding method has inadequate actions that influence the well-being of the individual.

At the entrance to the processing plant, some good waiting conditions with optimal times to have a better quality of the product and avoid soft and exudative pale meats (PSE) or dark, firm and tough meats (DFD).

Proper inspection is key antemortem (before slaughter) and postmortem (after slaughter), seeking to detect those signs and symptoms associated with zoonotic diseases. (Read: Animal welfare, the best ally of livestock production)

Stunning or stunning reduces stress and pain in the slaughter chain, avoiding unnecessary suffering. Traditional methods of stunning are electric shock or electronarcosis, exposure to carbon dioxide, or the captive bolt or stun gun.


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