A survey was conducted among 203 sheep farmers to investigate their perceptions on the significance of ante-mortem welfare and slaughter indicators for sheep. Descriptive statistics were computed for seasonal indicators, farmers’ age groups, gender and their distribution within the Eastern Cape Province (ECP). The X2-tests were also computed to determine the associations between the farmers’ attributes and their perceptions on ante-mortem welfare for sheep breeds. The results revealed that older male farmers (51 to 60 years old) had the least (1.6%) orientation about the importance of ante-mortem welfare of sheep. Most of the respondents (85.2%) were of the opinion that sheep should be culled during winter season to produce lamb meat. Live weight was perceived to be a highly significant (p Ë‚ 0.001) slaughter indicator for Dormer sheep and age was found having a significant (p Ë‚ 0.05) slaughter index for common sheep breeds in ECP. It was concluded that only two municipalities were well informed about the importance ofante-mortem welfare of sheep in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. Nevertheless, sheep farmers considered age at slaughter, live weight and season as crucial slaughter indicators for sheep.
Key words: Pre-slaughter welfare, pin mapping, sheep farmers, winter slaughter.
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