- A bruise is a localized bleed (and subsequent swelling and inflammation) into tissues, typically the skin and underlying muscle.
- Bruises mostly following injury.
- Bruised tissue must be trimmed at meat inspection. Severely affected carcases are condemned.
- Most bruising is due to injury.
- Injury can occur in yarding, handling and transport or by other cattle (especially horned cattle).
- Poorly designed or maintained yards (especially with protruding objects), rough handling and slippery surfaces contribute to bruising.
- Cattle with bad temperament are more prone to panic and subsequent trauma.
- Poor mixing, loading and stock density (too few or too many) can contribute to bruising during transport.
- Bruised cattle may not show outward signs, but severe bruises may produce obvious swelling, pain, lameness and/or external wounds.
- Bruised sites are diagnosed as red/black swellings at meat inspection.
- Affected sites are trimmed or the carcase condemned if severe.
- Treatment depends upon diagnosis of the cause of bruising.
- Ensure cattle are polled or dehorned
- Don't mix cattle of widely different weight, age or sex
- Minimise handling by drafting in advance, and travelling direct to the abattoir
- Use yards that are well designed so cattle flow well
- Use well designed loading ramps - Loading ramps, if not designed correctly, can impede animal movement and cause injury. Loading ramps should be non-slip and less than 25° slope, preferably with stepped incline
- Ensure there are no projecting objects such as rails, bolts or gate catches
- Handle cattle quietly, without dogs and electric prodders
- Avoid boxing strange cattle in confined places such as yards or trucks
- Ensure trucks have a non-slip floor and no protrusions
- Minimise time on the trucks, and eliminate double handling if possible
- Use a carrier with training or accreditation in low-stress handling
- If cattle go down, get them up immediately and allow them space