Animal Health Guidelines For Cull Cattle

It is policy of Wellington Livestock only to purchase cattle that are “fit for human consumption” Under the Export Control Act, the Prevention Of Cruelty To Animals Act and the National Animal Welfare Standards at Livestock Processing Establishments Preparing Meat for Human Consumption, the company has to take into consideration its legal and moral obligations regarding the welfare of animals

Reasons for purchase as Owners Risk includes:

  • Badly injured or caner eyes
  • Emaciation
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Twisted bowel
  • Bloated gut
  • Visible cancer i.e. skin, vulva or udder
  • Black mastitis
  • Lethargic animals with sunken eyes which is usually an indication that the animal may b suffering from septicaemia or peritonitis


Every animal presented for slaughter by Wellington Livestock is inspected before slaughter by a Government Veterinary Officer. During this inspection the Veterinary Officer will segregate obviously diseased animals for further examination or if they deem that an animal is not “Fit For Human Consumption” it will be immediately destroyed and sent off the plant to a knackery. the reasons that animals may be condemned before slaughter include:

  • Animals showing obvious disease (i.e. extensive eye cancer)
  • Injuries, particularly where the injury has been left unattended


After ante-mortem inspection the animals are presented for slaughter. Each animal that is presented for slaughter is inspected by a Government Inspector. Once this inspection is complete the Inspector will make the decision on the suitability of the animal for human consumption. Carcasses are condemned where the disease is considered to be extensive and the body is affected.

The most common reasons for carcasses to be condemned at Wellington Livestock are:

  • Eye cancer
  • Fever type pathology (septicaemia, pyaemia, metritis)
  • Body cancer
  • Actinobacillosis (disease that causes pus or lumpy jaw through bacteria entering a wound)
  • Extensive bruising
  • Peritonitis (inflammation of the gut)
  • Pleurisy (inflammation of the lungs)
  • Emaciation

In the above cases the condition would have to affect the whole carcass, not just the carcass part.


Cancer of the eye is a disease condition often found in white faced beef cattle. This disease is a major cause of cattle being condemned as unfit for human consumption by Government Inspectors

Animals or Carcasses are subject to condemnation for eye cancer if:

  • The growth is visible and extensive, suppurating (pus) or bleeding
  • The cancer has invaded the bone around the eye
  • The cancer has spread from the eye to any body gland
  • The carcass is extremely poor
  • The carcass  has a seperate advanced disease in addition to eye cancer

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Emaciation refers to animals that are so lean or wasted they are unfit for human consumption. It is a condition that may cause condemnation.

Emaciation can also be caused by disease (i.e. cancer) where the animal declines to eat because of illness or interference with the digestive system. In all instances of emaciation the following characteristics are present:

  • Wasted musculature (loose, flabby, moist appearance)
  • Little, if any, fat on the carcass
  • Any fat that is present is brown and jelly like
  • The carcass will not enter rigor mortis (i.e. will not “set”)

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Wellington Livestock personnel are available to discuss any condemnation with suppliers, particularly with regard to any of the examples listed above. We Value your business and wish to resolve any difficulties or misunderstandings that may occur.