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Meat Sci. 2013 Aug;94(4):432-7. doi: 10.1016/j.meatsci.2013.03.026. Epub 2013 Mar 28.

Influence of social dominance on production, welfare and the quality of meat from beef bulls.

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  • 1Department of Animal Production and Food Science, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Zaragoza, Miguel Servet 177, E-50013 Zaragoza, Spain.


The aim of this study was to assess the effect of social dominance on some indicators of welfare, production and meat quality of young bulls. A total of 60 bulls of the Gasconne breed, 9 months old, housed indoors were used. Indices of success order were calculated to reflect social dominance of each bull into three ranking categories (low, middle and high). Blood samples were taken to measure cortisol, lactate, glucose, creatine kinase, non-esterified fatty acid and neutrophil/lymphocyte ratio (N/L). M. longissimus samples were analysed in terms of pH, water holding capacity (WHC), texture, colour and sensorial attributes. Social rank influenced cattle stress response, which had an effect on productive performance but not on meat quality traits, with the exception of the sensory traits. These results emphasize the importance of implementing best management practices during pre-harvest handling of cattle in order to modulate any possible risk factor for social stress.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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