The use of new technologies such as rumen temperature boluses, together with the collective assessment of an animal stress responses may have the potential to act as an indicator of meat quality. Therefore, the objective of this study was to evaluate rumen temperature as a novel indicator of meat quality, by investigating its relationship with welfare measures and instrumental meat quality. The study involved 42 Holstein bulls (15.8 ± 0.08 months of age), which were transported 42 km to a commercial abattoir. Mean rumen temperature rose by 0.511 °C (P < .001) during the pre-slaughter phase; peaking during lairage. In addition, cortisol, creatine kinase (CK) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) were significantly (P < .001) elevated at slaughter. Bulls with a greater rumen temperature during the pre-slaughter phase produced meat with significantly higher pHult. Pre-slaughter rumen temperature was positively associated with slaughter CK, slaughter cortisol, pHult, L* and a*. Thus, rumen temperature demonstrates the potential to be used both as a novel welfare indicator and predictor of meat quality.
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Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis › Doctor of PhilosophyFile