Effects of vehicle movements during transport on the stress responses and meat quality of sheep.
Two groups of 26 lambs were transported for 15 hours either on smooth highways or on rougher secondary roads. Nine of the animals in each group were monitored for heart rate and the plasma levels of cortisol, creatine kinase and lactate dehydrogenase, before the journey began, after four, eight and 12 hours and at slaughter. The pH of the meat was measured 45 minutes and 24 hours postmortem and its colour was assessed 24 hours postmortem. The lambs transported on smooth roads had a lower heart rate and lower plasma cortisol concentrations after eight and 12 hours than the lambs transported on rougher roads. Twenty-four hours after slaughter the pH of the meat of the lambs transported on smooth roads was lower than that of the lambs transported on rougher roads.