Welfare and carcass and meat quality of pigs being transported for 2 hours using two vehicle types during two seasons of the year.

Correa, J.A., Gonyou, H.W., Torrey, S., Widowski, T.M., Crowe, T.G., LaForest, J.-P., and Faucitano, L. (2013). "Welfare and carcass and meat quality of pigs being transported for 2 hours using two vehicle types during two seasons of the year.", Canadian Journal of Animal Science, 93(1), pp. 43-55. doi : 10.4141/CJAS2012-088  Access to full text

Abstract

A total of 3756 pigs were transported for 2 h in summer and winter using a “pot-belly” trailer (PB) and a hydraulic double-decked truck (DD) in order to assess the effect of vehicle design on animal welfare and carcass and meat quality. Animal welfare was assessed in randomly selected barrows by measuring heart rate of pigs and lactate and creatine phospho-kinase (CPK) concentrations in exsanguination blood. Skin damage was scored and meat quality was evaluated in the longissimus dorsi (LD), semimembranosus (SM) and adductor (AD) muscles. Heart rates in winter were higher (P< 0.01) during transport, at unloading and in lairage. Blood CPK and lactate concentrations at slaughter were higher (P<0.05 and P<0.01, respectively) in pigs transported on the PB trailer. Bruises increased in winter (P<0.001) and in pigs from the DD truck (P<0.05). The pHu was higher (P< 0.01) in all muscles and L* value was lower (P<0.05) in the LD muscle from pigs transported in the PB trailer. Overall, the results of this study indicate that the type of vehicle, animal location in the truck and the season affect the welfare of pigs during transport with clear consequences on skin bruises and pork quality variation.

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