Selecting beef cattle for slaughter

Learn more about the key handling points of a live animal and how these translate into the potential carcase classification. 

Selection and carcase classification

Weight and visual appraisal are a general guide to an animal’s readiness for market, but, to ensure accurate selection, handling the live animal is essential. By knowing and understanding the key handling points, you will be able to assess the potential carcase classification, to help you consistently meet your customers’ specification.

There are five key handling points that give the best indication of level of finish and fat class.

Cow showing conformation assessment points.

To assess conformation feel the animal at:

A – The round or hindquarter

B – The loin

C – The shoulder

To assess fat level feel the animal at:

D – The pin bones and either side of the tailhead

B – The loin (transverse process)

E – The ribs

Assessing conformation

Recap on the three key areas to look at, when assessing the conformation or shape of animal.

Find out how to assess conformation

Assessing fat levels

See our overview of the three key areas to consider when assessing the fat levels of an animal. Plus, find out what to look for in an animal with an ideal level of finish. 

Assessing fat levels

Useful links

Understanding cattle and carcases