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Thread: Effects of stress on meat quality?

  1. #1
    SD Regular Mr. Gain's Avatar
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    Effects of stress on meat quality?

    It is, I think, generally held to be a truth that the flesh of animals instantly killed whilst in an unstressed state is better for the table than that of animals that are killed in flight, after running and subsequently requiring a coup de grâce, or after any other traumatic experience.

    As it is common on the Continent to drive deer, boar and other game species to guns, are we to suppose that they are more concerned with the pleasures of the hunt than with those of the table? Or do they simply have different tastes in both? Or is the gastronomic difference not as marked as is commonly supposed?

    For comparison, is it reasonable to suppose also that our pheasants, grouse, and partridges would taste better if we stalked them and took them unawares?

    In the case of flying game, taken on the wing after being driven from their cover, any stress -and it stands to reason that there must be some- doesn't seem to make the dressed meat less than delicious. I wonder then why pre-mortem stress should affect the flesh of a deer so much as to spoil its flavour.

    I should say here that I have been lucky enough never to have shot a deer that hasn't fallen within 10m of the strike site. [Small numbers, small species, short ranges], so have no experience of "stressed" carcases. Indeed, I shoot very few deer each year, so undoubtedly speak from a position of relative (and even absolute) ignorance.

    Consequently, I'd be very glad to hear the views of the more expert gentlemen of the SD on the musings above.
    "Docendo discimus" - Seneca the Younger (c. 4 BC – 65 AD)
    “Comodidad, tranquilidad y buena alimentacion” - A Spanish recipe for contentment that oddly omits hunting.
    "I'm off to spend some time at the top of the food chain..." - (after) Tulloch
    "Oh [dear], they probably heard that in the village!" - RickoShay

  2. #2
    An interesting question! This might help: CHAPTER 2: Effects of stress and injury on meat and by-product quality talking about PSE or DFD meat (which I vaguely recall from Meat hygiene lectures at vet school). Both relate to the muscle using up glycogen stores and altering the acidity of the meat so it's pale and soft or dry and firm. The DFD meat resembles Capture Myopathy - a potentially fatal condition associated with chasing/capturing wild animals - especially long legged herbivores. CM has been shown to be related, not surprisingly, to the duration of the chase, so I'd suggest the answer to your question is, "it depends". If the animal is excessively chased to exhaustion then yes, the meat will be poor. There is another aspect, in any drive or boar/pheasant, the animal can "escape". They have evolved to avoid been eaten by running away so some stress (good stress - eustress) is normal. A no escape chase is bad stress (distress) and leads to a variety of hormonal disturbances. You can see the no escape chase with the wild dogs running down a wildebeest.
    I think that the stalking/driven shooting most of us are involved in doesn't produce deleterious stress. Hope that helps

  3. #3
    SD Regular Mr. Gain's Avatar
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    Buchan,

    that is a really interesting reply, and a very plausible answer.

    So much so, in fact, that this might prove to be the shortest thread in SD history.

    Many thanks,

    Mr. G
    "Docendo discimus" - Seneca the Younger (c. 4 BC – 65 AD)
    “Comodidad, tranquilidad y buena alimentacion” - A Spanish recipe for contentment that oddly omits hunting.
    "I'm off to spend some time at the top of the food chain..." - (after) Tulloch
    "Oh [dear], they probably heard that in the village!" - RickoShay

  4. #4
    There was a thread on here that mentioned electrocution after the carcass was hung to tenderise the meat.
    Last edited by Paul 600; 17-12-2014 at 18:09.

  5. #5
    SD Regular Mr. Gain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deer man View Post
    There was a thread on here that mentioned electrocution after the charade [???] was hung to tenderise the meat.
    Carcase?
    "Docendo discimus" - Seneca the Younger (c. 4 BC – 65 AD)
    “Comodidad, tranquilidad y buena alimentacion” - A Spanish recipe for contentment that oddly omits hunting.
    "I'm off to spend some time at the top of the food chain..." - (after) Tulloch
    "Oh [dear], they probably heard that in the village!" - RickoShay

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Gain View Post
    Carcase?
    Carcass

  7. #7
    Don't you just love self correcting modern gadgets?
    My girlfriend once sent a message to her mum when borrowing a dress off her that said " Don't know what you've done with this dress mum as it appears to have shrunk when you wanked it!"

    LOL anyway back on track;

    My ex father in law was a farmer and he was always absolutely convinced that if the pork was good the pig died happy. Now whether he knew of any sound reasoning behind it or it was just something like an old wives tale did make me wonder. Food for thought!!!!

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Gain View Post
    It is, I think, generally held to be a truth that the flesh of animals instantly killed whilst in an unstressed state is better for the table than that of animals that are killed in flight, after running and subsequently requiring a coup de grâce, or after any other traumatic experience.

    As it is common on the Continent to drive deer, boar and other game species to guns, are we to suppose that they are more concerned with the pleasures of the hunt than with those of the table? Or do they simply have different tastes in both? Or is the gastronomic difference not as marked as is commonly supposed?

    For comparison, is it reasonable to suppose also that our pheasants, grouse, and partridges would taste better if we stalked them and took them unawares?

    In the case of flying game, taken on the wing after being driven from their cover, any stress -and it stands to reason that there must be some- doesn't seem to make the dressed meat less than delicious. I wonder then why pre-mortem stress should affect the flesh of a deer so much as to spoil its flavour.

    I should say here that I have been lucky enough never to have shot a deer that hasn't fallen within 10m of the strike site. [Small numbers, small species, short ranges], so have no experience of "stressed" carcases. Indeed, I shoot very few deer each year, so undoubtedly speak from a position of relative (and even absolute) ignorance.

    Consequently, I'd be very glad to hear the views of the more expert gentlemen of the SD on the musings above.
    The continental view of hunting is that you give the animal a chance by driving them. Assassination of a grazing animal is un-sporting. The issue of safety (or not) is also paramount. Driven hunts are organised, having thirty stalkers wandering through the same wood will be counterproductive.

    Stan

  9. #9
    SD Regular Mr. Gain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smullery View Post
    The continental view of hunting is that you give the animal a chance by driving them. Assassination of a grazing animal is un-sporting. The issue of safety (or not) is also paramount. Driven hunts are organised, having thirty stalkers wandering through the same wood will be counterproductive.

    Stan
    I'm sorry if you thought I was criticising driven hunting. Perhaps if you read my original post again -bearing in mind this is not my position- you'll see that there was no intention to imply any such thing.
    "Docendo discimus" - Seneca the Younger (c. 4 BC – 65 AD)
    “Comodidad, tranquilidad y buena alimentacion” - A Spanish recipe for contentment that oddly omits hunting.
    "I'm off to spend some time at the top of the food chain..." - (after) Tulloch
    "Oh [dear], they probably heard that in the village!" - RickoShay

  10. #10
    SD Regular Mr. Gain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deer man View Post
    Carcass
    That is also an acceptable spelling.
    "Docendo discimus" - Seneca the Younger (c. 4 BC – 65 AD)
    “Comodidad, tranquilidad y buena alimentacion” - A Spanish recipe for contentment that oddly omits hunting.
    "I'm off to spend some time at the top of the food chain..." - (after) Tulloch
    "Oh [dear], they probably heard that in the village!" - RickoShay

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