To improve knowledge of where frequent damage to deer skins was occurring, and how to quantify it, studies were carried out at deer slaughter plants (DSPs) in the South Island, New Zealand. Skins from supplying farms were identified using a pattern punched into the fresh skin. In Part A, scarring was assessed following de-hairing and pickling, in skins from three suppliers at each of five slaughter plants. On average there were 4 (range 0-17) fresh and 7 (range 0-85) healed scars per skin. Effects of supplier and DSP on the number of fresh and healed scars were observed (P<0.001), with some achieving very low levels of damage, and some showing frequent, consistent forms of damage. In Part B, skins were assessed at wet-blue and finished leather stages, from deer killed in nine slaughter groups over three days at one DSP. In wet-blue skins, slaughter groups differed in the number (P<0.001) and severity (P<0.01) of healed scars, while in finished leather, slaughter groups differed significantly in damage score (P<0.05). Together the studies showed effects of supplier and DSP on the amount, severity and type of deer skin damage.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 67, Wanaka, 356-360, 2007
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