The aim of this work was to examine the effectiveness of a commercial electrolyte mixture in alleviating dehydration and improving carcass characteristics of adult sheep under commercial processing conditions. Two separate experiments were conducted to investigate this aim. Experiment 1 had 2 hydration treatments (water with and without electrolytes) and sheep commenced their treatments on their arrival at the abattoir. Animals were then slaughtered at the lairage times of 24, 48 or 72 h. Experiment 2 had the same treatments and an additional no water (no electrolyte) treatment. In the second experiment only, animals from each of the treatment groups were allocated into 2 stimulation groups, so that on the production line the carcasses were either treated with high voltage stimulation or not treated. Experiment 2 animals were grazed for 2 weeks at the abattoir prior to commencement of the treatments. Animals were slaughtered after a lairage time of 24, 48 or 72 h, except for animals on the no-water treatment: these animals had lairage times of 24 or 48 h only. It was found in both experiments that there was no difference (P>0.05) between the water treatments for all carcass and meat quality traits measured. Lairage time had an effect (P<0.05) on urine specific gravity in both experiments. Urine specific gravity decreased as lairage time increased in experiment 1, but an opposing trend was found in experiment 2. In experiment 1, as lairage time increased, GR (total tissue depth at the 12th rib) decreased. Electrical stimulation in experiment 2 lowered (P<0.05) the initial pH and interacted with lairage time causing differences in cook loss for meat aged for 1 or 7 days, but had no impact on other traits.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Animal Production Science|
|Publication status||Published - 2006|