As we enter the winter period, the number of cattle and sheep being presented to the abattoir with dirty fleeces and hides is increasing. Linden Foods asks its producers to be diligent in management practices such as bedding cattle and sheep to reduce the number of dirty animals being produced.
Presenting clean animals for slaughter is extremely important as dirty fleeces and hides can increase the likelihood of carcass contamination and risk to human health. This is due to the fact that pathogens such as E. Coli, Clostridium perfringens, Salmonella and Campylobacter can be carried in faeces. These pathogens can cause food borne illness if transferred to the carcass during dressing, and then consumed by people.
Severe dirtiness can also be a potential welfare issue for the animals, as this suggests inadequate bedding. This may lead to infections such as digital dermatitis and heel horn erosion, causing pain to the animal. This links in with the Freedom from pain, injury and disease. In addition another of the Five Freedoms states that animals should be free from discomfort by providing an appropriate environment which includes a comfortable resting area.
If farmers consistently bring in clean cattle, it would result in more profitable beef production for both the farmer and the processor.