The effect of transport on the quality of rabbit meat
The analyzed material included 40 hybrid rabbits slaughtered at the age of 90 days. The control group was transported directly after weaning, while the transport group was transported directly prior to slaughter. The experiment was designed to assess the transport stress, carcass and meat quality implications, taking into account the muscle type and sex. The transported animals were characterized by a higher level of blood cortisol, glucose and triglycerides (P < 0.0001), and a lower level of insulin (P < 0.0001) compared to the control group. In the presented study the time post‐mortem affected the pH decline in both rabbit groups (P < 0.0001). The lightness, redness and yellowness of rabbit meat were affected by the transport (P < 0.0001, P = 0.001 and P < 0.0001). The percentage of free water and its share in the total water was higher for the non‐transported rabbits compared to the transported ones (P < 0.0001). Moreover, the meat from the control group was characterized by greater plasticity compared to the transport group (P = 0.003). The chemical composition of rabbit meat was not changed by the effect of transport (P = 0.643–0.979). To conclude, the quality traits of meat from the transported hybrid rabbits clearly indicated the development of dark firm and dry‐like lower quality of meat.
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