A Survey of Cattle and Carcass Handling Practices at Slaughter Houses in Ogun State, Nigeria
Pacific Agriculture & Natural Resources 2017, Volume 7, Number 1
This study was conducted to assess the breeds of large animals (ruminant) that were slaughtered at Slaughter houses in Ogun state, the mode of transportation, the health status of the animals, the type and condition of the equipment used in processing meat, the methods of dressing carcasses and whether they contribute to tenderize and contaminate meat or not. Two functional slaughter houses were purposely selected from each of the four zones in Ogun state namely: Ayetoro and Ilaro from Yewa; Ikenne and Sagamu from Remo; Ijebu-Igbo and Ijebu-Ode from Ijebu, Abeokuta and Itori from Egba. 120 structured questionnaires were administered on meat processors (Butchers) 15 at each of the eight Slaughter houses selected. Data collected were analysed using descriptive statistics which included frequencies and percentages. The results revealed that majority (50.0%) of meat processors slaughtered Ndama cattle that were transported by road (58.3%) which were in good (41.7%) condition of health. Majority (39.2%) of the butchers used knives in their operations which were sterilized (47.5%) every two weeks (37.5%). Majority (59.2%) of the meat processors skinned the carcasses while they rarely practiced singeing. Majority (48.3%) strongly disagreed that meat would be toughened if skinned but majority (51.7%) strongly agreed that it would tenderize meat. However, majority (55.8%) disagreed that scalding would toughen meat while 40.0% of the processors strongly agreed that scalding would tenderize meat instead. Majority (56.7%) of the butchers strongly agreed that skinning carcasses on the slab would contaminate meat and made it unsafe, while 38.3% of them were undecided, but (58.3%) of them strongly disagreed that scalding method would contaminate meat while 60.0% strongly agreed that scalding would not contaminate meat from the slaughter houses. It was recommended that butchers should stun animals before sticking, sterilize the equipment, clean and disinfect the slaughter houses before the next slaughter.
The quality of finished animal products depends largely on the health status of animals, their handling and method employed in processing the carcass as well as the condition of the environment (Apata, 2012). This is important especially as consumers’ preference and concern inclined towards quality and safety issues on food generally and animal products in particular (Joseph, 1999). The use of unsterilized equipment could lead to the contamination of good quality meat during the processing which could pose a health risk for consumers. (FAO, 2000; 1993). It was reported that most of the animals slaughtered are brought to the facility by walking large distances or being transported in a crowded truck. Animals probably end up at the slaughter facility in weakenor exhausted state. Because of this, these animals probably produced a tougher or lower quality meat. In some cases the meat may end up being dark and dry. (Adeyemo et al, 2009). Carcass processing is basically the post-mortem dressings that are employed by various meat processors at slaughter houses. The commonly practiced carcass dressing methods worldwide include scalding, singeing and skinning (Apata, 2011). Scalding is achieved by dipping the carcass into hot water of temperature between 65-70℃ for 10 seconds in a tank or vat, singeing is burning of hair or fur off the skin, while skinning methods involves carcass using kerosene or wood, while skinning method involves complete removal of pelt/skin of the carcass using a sharp knife (Monin et al, 1995; Okubanjo, 1997; Omojola and Adesehinwa, 2006). The ultimate goal of meat processors is to produce high quality, safe meat (Koohmaraie et al, 2005). The objective of this study therefore, was to assess the implications of handling live animals and different methods employed in processing/dressing their carcasses at Slaughter houses on meat quality in Ogun state.
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