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Electrical stimulation and hydration to optimise meat quality

David Hopkins, R.H. Jacob, E.S. Toohey, K.L. Pearce, D.W. Pethick, I Richards


\"This article discusses research that was conducted to optimise new electrical-stimulation technologies and to elucidate the effects of pre-slaughter dehydration of lambs. A change in lamb processing to a focus on eating quality has increased the uptake of new electrical technologies. Our research was aimed at understanding how carcase response to electrical stimulation is affected by genotype, pulse-width, current, and frequency and time of stimulation. Although seven post-dressing electrical stimulation systems have been installed in abattoirs across Australia and two prototype pre-dressing systems and an immobiliser have been installed at a major export abattoir, more installations are needed. An indicator of animal dehydration status was developed and used at two commercial abattoirs. This study showed that a large percentage of lambs are dehydrated at the time of slaughter, which represents a potential cost to industry of $5 million annually. Although several compounds for prevention of pre-slaughter dehydration in lambs were tested, none were effective.


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