Beef Cattle Transportation: Livestock Safety Cushion
Table of Contents
- When Does Bruising Occur?
- Livestock Safety Cushion (LSC)
- Cushion Installation
- Where Does Bruising Occur?
- Rating of Bruise Severity
- BIO's Findings
- Effect of LSC on Bruise Location and Severity
Figure 1. Placement of the Livestock Safety Cushions.
Bruising may happen at any point during production and marketing. Moving animals means they can impact on each other or some immovable object in their environment.
Dr. Temple Grandin, Animal Scientist, Colorado State University, found the MAJOR CAUSES OF BRUISING during transportation were:
- rough handling
- jostling in trucks
- catching hips on truck doors and gates
Since cattle like to move from darkness to light, they may rush out of the trailer, impacting on corners and edges as they go. During unloading, as opposed to loading cattle, there is more potential for cattle to be injured (3). Most cattle bump against structures at least once during unloading (4) and are likely to hit their hips and shoulders (5). Messer recommended that gates in loading and unloading areas be padded (3).
Figure 3. Livestock Safety Cushions before installation.
When cattle impact against the cushion, the scroll shaped coils compress to absorb impact. The cushion rebounds after impact to the original shape. LSC always presents a rounded surface to animals even during impact.
The inside of the trailer was checked for all possible points of impact, any places showing rubbing or wear by animal contact.
13 different points of impact were found.
LSC was installed on all of these points of impact.
Figure 4. A LSC installed beside a door.
BIO's study before installation of LSC in the trailers (baseline study) established the level of bruising found on fed cattle delivered to the packer.
Figure 5. Baseline bruising amounts, as found by BIO's study; Bruising on a carcass.
Minor - weighing less than 1 pound
Major - weighing 1 to 3 pounds
Critical - weighing over 3 pounds
Figure 6. Rating of Bruising Severity in the baseline study.
Figure 7. Location of critical bruising by percent.
Frequency of Bruising
Number of bruises per animal
Four or more
Figure 8. Frequency of bruising per animal.
% Total Bruising and % Animals Bruised
were significantly lower in cattle transported in trailers padded with Livestock Safety Cushion compared with unpadded trailers.
Effect of LSC on Bruise Location And Severity
Authors of the study concluded if overall bruising were reduced by 10% by use of padded trailers, the Canadian Beef Industry would save over $1 million per year. Reduction of 1.82% of bruising in the loin, the most valuable area, would reduce trim by 48 tons of loin per year (5).
- Canadian Cattlemen's Association. 1996. Executive Summary: Canadian Beef Quality Audit.
- Grandin, T. 1981. Bruises on SouthWestern Feedlot Cattle. J. Anim. Sci. 53., Suppl 1 p.213 (abstr).
- Messer. C. 1994. The effect of preslaughter handling on injury and dehydration in cattle. Humane Slaughter Association.
- Blackshaw, J.K., Blackshaw, A.J., and Kusano, T. 1987. Cattle behaviour in a saleyard and its potential to cause bruising. Aust. J. Exp. Agric. 27:753-757.
- Anderson, B. 1973. Study on cattle bruising. Qd. Agric. J. 99:234-240.
- Armstrong, S. L., Robinson, J.A. B. and Hayes, W. R. 1998. Tracking and Reducing Cattle and Carcass Bruising Through the Use of Management Improvement Tools - Final Report. Beef Improvement Ontario, 6986 Wellington Road 124 South, R.R. 7, Guelph, Ontario, N1G 6J4.
This information is based on the research done by Beef Improvement Ontario, 'Tracking and Reducing Cattle and Carcass Bruising Through the Use of Management Improvement Tools - Final Report' and the PowerPoint presentation of their results.
Our thanks to:
Lloyd Hutton Transport Limited, Paisley, Ontario.
Wilson Trailer Company, Sioux City, Iowa.
Tom Hahn licensee of the Livestock Safety Cushion.
The distributors of Livestock Safety Cushion are:
Bio-Ag Consultants and Distributors Inc. 1-800-363-5278
This information is provided as a public service; however OMAFRA does not endorse or recommend any specific product or service.
For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300