In this article we will discuss about:- 1. Meat Animal Production 2. Subjective Evaluation of Meat Animals 3. Transportation.
Meat Animal – Production:
India’s economic progress is mainly dependent on agriculture and livestock. The contribution of animal husbandry and dairying to the total gross domestic product (GDP) is around 6%. India has a large livestock population, which accounts for 56% of the world buffalo population (97 million), 15% of world cattle population (185 million) and about 17% of world goat population (125 million). Thus India is world leader in cattle, buffalo and goat population. It holds 5th rank for sheep and poultry population and ranked 17th in pigs.
The assets and market values of outputs from livestock, i.e., cattle, buffalo, sheep, goat, pig and poultry, have been estimated to be around Rs.80,000 crores. Food products like milk, meat and eggs valued at Rs.70,000 crores, work animals contribute Rs.6,000 crores and dung may be worth of Rs.5,000 crores. At present about 14.2 million cattle, 10.3 million buffaloes, 19.2 million sheep, 47 million goats, 16 million pigs and 604 million poultry birds are slaughtered/annum (FAO 2004).
Of the total meat production of 5.9 MMT, about 63.4% is coming from cattle and buffaloes, 16% from sheep and goats, 10.5% from poultry and 9.5% from pigs. There are about 3600 licensed slaughterhouses run by local bodies for domestic meat supply and 10 modern abattoirs for export of meat, a number of meat processing units also source carcasses from local slaughterhouses for processing and export of meat.
Meat is becoming an important commodity in the diet of people. The average annual per capita consumption of meat in India is about 5 kg compared to about 80 kg in some developed countries. Need for meat consumption in our country is greater both to utilize as a food resource as well as to meet nutritional requirement.
A person’s daily protein intake should be 1 g per kilogram of body weight for adequate nutrition and ideally 30 to 50% of the daily protein intake should be animal protein to provide an optimal range of amino acids. Average man needs a minimum 125 g/day meat or meat equivalent food. A 100 g serving of cooked meat from any of the meat animal species provides approximately, 10% calories, 50% protein, 35% iron and 25-60% B complex vitamins recommended for an adult.
Anemia caused by lack of iron is one of the major nutritional problems in India and other developing countries particularly in woman and children that can be corrected by meat consumption. In addition, meat production and utilization is an employment and livelihood generating activity for a considerable number of people engaged in the meat and associated sectors.
Large variation is observed in the status of meat sector among the developed and developing countries. In India, meat sector is poorly developed and requires considerable efforts for improving the efficiency and utility of meat animals. Meat animal production is largely an activity of small holders without much emphasis on the efficiency of production.
Meat production from cattle and buffaloes is largely a by-product system with use of the animals for meat production after productive or reproductive function is over. Sheep are raised for both meat and wool. Similarly goats are raised for meat and milk. Sheep and goat are largely reared in extensive system with very little practice of supplemental feeding. Pigs are largely reared for meat.
However, pig production is largely through scavenging/nomadic system. In contrast to these, poultry production has gained momentum during the last 2-3 decades in our country. Large genetic resources, varying animal production practices and input services contribute for the variability in meat animals and their production potential. The utility of meat animals is further compounded by socio-economic and religious factors with limitations on the rearing, culling, transportation, slaughter and use of meat.
Slaughterhouse facilities in our country are not adequate enough to produce meat under sanitary conditions. Slaughter takes place both in authorized and unauthorized places.
There are two distinct levels at which the meat is being produced in India, namely:
(a) For international market, and
(b) For domestic market.
The quality and safety of meat for international market is governed by the sanitary and phytosanitary measures given by the Office International des Epizootic (OIE), Paris. These export-oriented integrated abattoir and meat processing facilities produce hygienic meat in good sanitary conditions.
For domestic market, the meat is generally produced in municipal slaughter houses, which are old and sanitary regulations are not very strictly followed. However, the general practice of consuming meat in hot (pre-chilled) condition with adequate cooking ensures safety of the meat from food pathogens and the reported risks are quite a few.
Meat is the common term used to describe the edible portion of animal tissues and any processed or manufactured products prepared from these tissues. Common meat animals are cattle, buffaloes, sheep, goats, pigs and poultry. Red meat refers to the meat obtained from mammals and white meat refers to the meat obtained from poultry.
Meats are also identified by the live animal from which they come. Beef refers to the meat from, cattle, carabeef (buffalo meat) from buffalo, pork (pig meat) from pigs, chevron (goat meat) from goat, and mutton (sheep meat) from sheep. Poultry meat refers to meat from chickens (chicken meat), ducks (duck meat), turkeys (turkey meat) and quails (quail meat).
Meat production involves complex operations, starting from raising of animal to sale of meat by the retailers or processors. Understanding the factors that affect growth of food animals and carcass yield and quality of meat, is essential to the producer, feeder, buyer and consumers of livestock and meat.
Growth and fattening processes are important in meat trade as these aspects affect the efficiency of production and determine profits and losses during production. A number of factors affect the growth of food animals, these include ― breed, age, sex, maturity, plane of nutrition, disease and management.
During growth, percent contribution of muscle tissue, bone and fat varies considerably. The optimum weight or age of animal is selected based on relative contribution of muscle tissue, bone and fat to the carcass weight and quality of meat. Muscle tissue is of prime importance because this is the component that ultimately will be consumed as meat. Bone is functionally important during growth of the animal to maximize production efficiency. Optimum quantity of fat is necessary to ensure acceptable eating quality and protect the carcass or cuts during storage and handling.
Major production traits that need to be considered in a meat animal development programme are ― reproductive performance, mothering ability, live weight, carcass weight, dressing percentage, fat thickness, marbling, maturity, conformation, growth and feed efficiency, carcass composition, rib eye area (Longissimus dorsi muscle cut surface area), kidney, pelvic and heart fat and functional qualities of meat.
Subjective Evaluation of Meat Animals:
Evaluation of the market value of livestock and livestock products is essential for the economic success of any livestock or meat industry enterprise.
When selecting and judging meat animals, the following factors need to be taken into consideration:
1. General Appearance:
General appearance of a meat animal refers to quality, type, size and development of animal. Meat animal shall have deep rugged bodied, and masculine in appearance, shall show great power and symmetry of form, clean strong bone, smooth well-balanced finish, graceful, powerful walk, impressive style and carriage. Development of animal should be according to age, preference being given to animals showing superior growth and muscle development.
Conformation is the build, outline, or contour of an animal. It is influenced largely by the shape and size of the muscles. Superior conformation contributes to a higher dressing; percentage, a higher cutting percentage of meat to bone, and a higher cut-out value in the higher priced cuts.
Meat animal should show muscling in the regions of the shoulder, hind quarters, loin, brisket, and neck.
4. Finish or Condition:
Finish refers to condition or amount of fat an animal is carrying. It is a major factor affecting dressing percentage, yield of retail cuts and meat quality.
Judging of Live Goat:
Different steps are followed for judging different meat animals. In case of goat following steps are followed.
When viewed from the side, the neck should be short to medium in length, strong, and especially thick at the base, blending smoothly into shoulders and brisket. The rump should be long, broad, and slightly sloping with smooth, even covering of firm flesh. Hips should be wide apart and level with back, pins wide apart and lower than hips. Tail head slightly above and neatly set between pin bones. The barrel should be uniformly deep and wide. The shoulder should be moderately heavy, strong, and well-muscled.
From the rear, the hind quarters should be full, wide and deep. Hocks should be wide apart.
When viewed from the front, the head should be medium in length, strong and masculine in appearance, muzzle broad with large open nostrils, and jaw strong and even, eyes full and bright and forehead wide. The forelegs should be medium in length; squarely set, straight; and strong. Bones should be strong and clean. Large heart girth resulting from long, well-sprung fore-ribs; wide muscular chest floor between front legs; and fullness at point of elbow, brisket should be broad, deep, muscular, and firm.
When viewed from the top, a market goat should be blocky and rectangular in appearance. The back should be broad and strong with even covering of smooth, firm flesh. The loin should be wide, full and deep. Width over the top and behind the shoulder should indicate a good spring of rib.
Almost similar parameters are considered for judging different breeds of sheep for mutton production.
Judging of Live Pig:
Skeletal correctness is very important in pigs. Hogs should be free of diseases, injuries and wounds. Weight and age should be according to trade requirements. From side, body should be long and compact. Ham should be well fleshed to hocks. Top should be flat and tail setting should be high. Rump and muscle structure should be correct. Loin should be broad and long.
When viewed from front, the hog should be straight legged and have adequate substance of bone. Head should be wide according to breed. When viewed from rear, the hog should stand squarely on its rear legs yet toe out slightly from the pastern down.
Judging of Large Meat Animals:
In case of beef, cattle and buffaloes almost similar parameters are considered; however, more emphasis is given on general body conditions like fullness in shoulder, loin and rump regions. Animal should have sloping in shoulder, straight and strong in top. When viewed from front, the feet should point straight forward. From the rear, the animal should show prominent muscling.
Transportation of Food Animals:
After procurement, meat animals are transported from villages or small towns to bigger markets or slaughter houses.
Proper care, management and handling of food animals during transportation are very important for:
i. Preventing economic losses incurred on account of injury to animals, death and deterioration of the quality of meat.
ii. Implementing the existing animal welfare regulations.
iii. Inadequate ventilation in the transport vehicles causes loss in weight, bruising and suffocation during transport of food animals.
iv. Seasonal effect is also an important consideration in the transport of animals as extremes of temperatures could result in the death of animals.
v. Overcrowding in pens can lead to fighting amongst livestock and the vices such as cannibalism can occur. Similarly, fewer animals than the capacity of the transport vehicle and lack of adequate partitioning in the vehicle may cause the animals to be thrown around and consequently suffer from severe injuries.
vi. Animals from different sources tend to fight when mixed.
vii. Stress susceptibility of animals, particularly the pigs and the duration and severity of transport affect the quality of meat markedly. Diseases may also occur as a result of transport stress especially when long distances and periods are involved.
viii. Exhaustion of an animal in the last hours before slaughter may result in dark-firm-dry (DFD) meat that has lower keeping quality. On the other hand, excitation immediately prior to slaughter may result in a very rapid fall of meat pH after slaughter in pale-soft-exudative (PSE) meat, which is objectionable due to decreased yield in curing and cooking.
ix. When fasted during transit, animals loose weights, however, cattle lose weight less readily than sheep and sheep less readily than pigs. Fasting also results in depletion of glycogen and affects meat quality.
Basic considerations in the shipment and transport of food animals are:
i. Selection of best method of transportation.
ii. Proper feeding prior to loading.
iii. Animals should be kept quiet—avoiding rough handling and beating.
iv. Use of partitions when necessary.
v. Avoiding shipping during extremes of weather.
vi. Possession of required certificates, permits and complying with regulations.
Guidelines for Transport of Cattle and Buffaloes by Rail and Road (provided by the Bureau of Indian Standards) (IS: 4157 (Part- II) – 1968):
i. Animals should be healthy and in good condition and should be certified by a veterinarian.
ii. Comfort to animals must be ensured avoiding chances of stampede.
iii. Proper watering and feeding should be done prior to loading and transport of animals. Optimum ventilation of the transport carriage should be ensured.
iv. Convenient ramps and platforms should be used for loading and unloading the animals.
v. Dung should be removed as frequently as possible to keep the place clean.
vi. Fire accidents should be avoided by taking proper precautions.
vii. The average space provided per animal in truck/railway wagon shall not be less than 2 m2.
viii. Ordinary goods wagon, when used for transportation, shall carry not more than 10 adult cattle or 15 calves on broad gauge, not more than 6 adult cattle or 9 calves on meter gauge and not more than 4 adult cattle 6 calves on narrow gauge.
ix. Cattle should be loaded parallel to the rail facing each other.
x. Floor padding material shall not be less than 6 cm thick in the wagon.
xi. As far as possible, animals may be moved only during the nights.
xii. In case of truck transport vehicle fitted with a special type of tail board and padding around the sides should be used.
xiii. Projecting nails should be removed.
xiv. Animals should preferably face the engine to pervert cattle being frightened. Other merchandise should not be loaded while transporting.
xv. The speed of the truck shall not exceed 40 km per hour.
The approximate space required per cattle in truck or railway wagon shall be as under (IS14904:2001):
These figures may vary depending on animal’s weight and size but also on their physical conditions, the meteorological conditions and likely journey time. The space allowance should be increased by at least 10% during hot, humid conditions.
Guidelines for Transport of Sheep and Goats by Rail and Road (IS: 4157 (Part-II)—1983):
i. Only healthy animals certified by a veterinarian shall be transported.
ii. It is desirable not to mix sheep and goats in order to avoid stampede.
iii. Similarly, male stock shall not be mixed with female stock in the same compartment.
iv. All objects that can cause injuries shall be removed and vehicle shall be sprayed with suitable disinfectant before loading the animals.
v. Floor padding material shall not be less than 5 cm thick.
vi. Suitable ramps shall be provided for loading and unloading, and extremes of temperatures shall be avoided.
The approximate space required per sheep and goat in truck or railway wagon shall be as under (IS 14904:2001):
These figures may vary depending on animal’s breeds, weight, size and length of fleece, presence or absence of horns as well as their physical conditions, the meteorological conditions and likely journey time. The space allowance should be increased by at least 10% during hot, humid conditions.
Guidelines for Transport of Poultry (IS: 5238 (Part-II)—1982):
i. Poultry shall be healthy and in good condition and certified by veterinarian.
ii. Poultry transported in the same container shall be of the same species and of the same age group.
iii. During hot weather, watering should he ensured every 6 hours.
iv. Overcrowding shall be avoided.
v. Poultry should not be exposed to rain or extreme temperatures.
vi. Containers used to transport poultry shall be of such material that will not collapse or crumble and shall be ventilated.
Floor space and dimensions of containers for transportation of poultry are as under: