Why animal welfare improves the quality of the meat we consume

There are several investigations that support that the meat of animals treated using good practices is of higher quality than that of those that have suffered more harmful methods. One of the latest studies dates back to last year, when researchers at Wageningen University in the Netherlands concluded that the emotions of animals affected quality of his meat.

Specifically, these scientists were based on the existence of biomarkers such as oxytocin and dopamine, which vary by the levels of cortisol, a hormone that is released in response to stress. Happy animals that suffer less stress, the researchers say, are more productive and the quality of their meat is higher than that of those that are subjected to more stress.

Precisely, one of the arguments of the Ministry of Consumption when promoting the royal decree by which security cameras will be installed in slaughterhouses is based on this thesis.

In the memory of the normative impact analysis of the royal decree law, the Government maintains that “permanence in the slaughterhouse supposes a moment of special stress for animals” and that this may lead to “the appearance of metabolic disorders and lesions in the live animal, which may affect the quality of its meat once slaughtered”. In this sense, they point out, a better management of the animals will reduce their stress and improve their health. This will also have a positive impact on the economy of the farmer and the managers of the slaughterhouse “since less meat will be confiscated and it will be of better quality.”

According to a report by Bureau Veritas, a company specializing in certification, inspection and analysis in the agri-food and livestock sector, when animals experience negative emotions such as fear or stress before being slaughtered, muscle glycogen breaks down, which in turn leads to a rapid drop in pH, causing your meat to be pale and softwith little flavor.

In the same way, continues the aforementioned report, if this drop in glycogen in the muscle is prolonged during the time of transport and handling of the animal, the generation of lactic acid in the meat is reduced, which results in an increase in pH. In these cases the meats are dark, firm and dry, of lower quality.

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