Ante-mortem stress is known to adversely affect meat quality, and cropping methods that minimize stress are key to ensuring acceptable meat quality from wild ungulates. The purpose of this study was to compare the difference in meat quality between day- and nightcropped red hartebeest (Alcelaphus buselaphus). The cropping method had no significant effect on the stress parameters, the ultimate pH of the meat or any of the constants of the exponential decay model of the pH data (y=a b e(-ct)). No significant differences were found in drip loss, cooking loss or shear force between treatments. Significant correlations were found between carcass pHu versus drip (r = -0.322) and cooking losses (r = -0.323). A significant difference was found for a* (P= 0.048) and chroma (P= 0.032) between day and night-cropped animals. All colour ordinates, except hue angle, were found to be significantly correlated to pHu. The results of this study indicate that if an experienced cropping team is used, neither of the two cropping methods has any adverse effect on the meat quality of red hartebeest.
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Vol. 41 • No. 1