I sure know that feeling. This one was for my own use. I think I am going to wait until I preg test the cows in November; if I have a young cow open I will fatten her up to butcher.It really sucks when they die right before the processing date. Had one die in the feedlot July 3 after $700 in feed bills and one month to the day before processing date. Had to buy a steer from the feeder to meet my customer obligations. Pretty much took the profit out of the venture. Should have sold all the steers last fall and avoided the hassle.
A quick death for an animal that appears healthy until it is suddenly dead, is usually caused by a blood vessel bursting in the thoracic cavity. I necropsied a number of animals, both wild and domestic that died like that. Basically they drown in their own blood. One was an injured elk calf with a cut on its leg that I was caring for when I rehabilitated wildlife. I checked on it to see if it needed more grass and it seemed to be fine. It had eaten the grain I had given it a half hour before. It did need more grass so I went out in our hay field and cut an arm full. When I got back to the elk calf ten minutes later, it was dead. A necropsy showed that its thoracic cavity was full of blood, which kills an animal almost instantly. That calf had a normal bite, just so no one will need to ask!Not sure why it died. I fed the same amount of barley this morning, gave it some hay and by 11:30am it was dead. He was coming along nicely. If I didn't think that my cow with the broken leg was bred I would butcher it.
Without the heart pumping and normal temp I don't know if it would bleed out properly. That said... I've never knowingly eaten a steak from a cow that wasn't bled out. Maybe it would be fine. I know deer are often completely dead before they are bled out.
I've always wondered about people that eat roadkill...I don't care if the heart is still pumping or if the animal is still warm. I don't care if it is beef, elk, deer,
beaver etc. If I don't know why it is dead or dying I ain't gonna eat it
Interesting, cattle were one animal that I never saw/necropsied that had died from a ruptured thoracic vessel. I necropsied the elk calf, several deer, one donkey, one llama and a domestic goat that died that way, that I remember. And that was over a 15 year period. So maybe no one brought a calf or cow to my attention because it hardly ever happened in cattle.I performed or observed necropsies on cattle almost every day for nearly 40 years. I can count the number of cases of ruptured thoracic vessels with exsanguination into the thoracic cavity on 2 fingers...both associated with umbilical abscesses in weanling Santa Gertrudis heifers on pasture.
Once saw a large number of nearly-finished steers dying of blackleg...feeder said he'd not vaccinated "because it's so hard on them!"...Crazy! A day or so of soreness and a temporary local swelling is not much to endure, compared to dying...
I think it would be fine, but I would want to know what it died from before I would consume it. An old guy around here used to come out and buy injured cattle from folks he knew were honest about not having meds in them, shoot them on-site, haul them to his facility, butcher them, and had no issues with the meat. That wasn’t something he openly advertised though.