Cortisol Determination in Blood Serum as Stress Indicator in Beef Cattle that are Slaughtered With or Without Stunning

Hadri Latif, Koekoeh Santoso, Trioso Purnawarman, Chairul Basri, Herwin Pisestyani


Cortisol concentration in blood serum can be made as an indirect indicator to measure the level of stress in cattle. Cattle can experience stress when faced with something frightening and uncomfortable, such as rough handling before slaughter. The aim of this research is to assess the stress level of beef cattle by measuring the cortisol concentration in blood serum of beef cattle with various methods of slaughter, either preceded or not preceded with stunning. To determine cortisol in blood serum of beef cattle, radioimmunoassay (RIA) was used in this research. This research was conducted in 8 (eight) slaughterhouses in West Java Province and Banten with a sample size of 82 samples.

The research was carried out by 4 methods of treatment before slaughter, (1) slaughter that begins with stunning by percussive captive bolt stunning gun (2) slaughter that begins with stunning by pneumatic captive bolt stunning gun (3) slaughter without stunning by using restraining box Mark IV, and (4) slaughter without stunning by using rope to forcefully throw down cattle / conventional method. Average cortisol hormone concentrations in blood serum of cattle for each method of slaughter respectively are 22.4, 19.3, 24.9, and 44.9 ng/mL. High level of cortisol in blood serum of cattle slaughtered by conventional method shows high level of stress in cattle due to poor handling before slaughter. High stress level may indicate that the beef cattle are handled without regard to animal welfare aspects.


cortisol; slaughter; beef cattle; stress.

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