Causes of cattle bruising during handling and transport in Namibia
Numerous risks associated with transport and handling of livestock cause bruising and poor welfare to animals. Variables having an influence on the level of bruising under Namibian transport conditions include animal factors (breed type, age, sex, condition and subcutaneous fat cover), pre-transport handling (re-branding of animals), transport related risks (loading density, animals lying down during transit) and lairage factors (fit of truck floor to off-loading ramp, moving to holding pen, pen size and minimum temperatures). Although no single factor was the dominant driver of bruise prevalence; load density, gravel roads, and cattle running after disembarking had a cumulative effect on bruising. Surprisingly, transport duration (3 vs 8. h) had minimal effect. The overall incidence of bruising is high, with the highest levels on the hips, around the butt and pin areas. In the event of animals transported to slaughter in the central areas of Namibia, conditions surrounding transport are more important than the distance transported or journey duration. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.