Author(s): Brown, J., Seddon, Y.M., Crowe, T., Widowski, T., Bergeron, R., Faucitano, L., Gonyou, H.
Publication Date: May 23, 2012
Reference: 2011 PSC Annual Report
In Canada, pigs sometimes have to travel for long distances to get to market. An experiment was carried out to see what impacts these trips were having on the stress of the pigs and meat quality. Over eight weeks transport trailors were loaded and traveled either six, twelve, or eighteen hours. Each trailer had 16 focal pigs put in one of four trailer compartments. After traveling to market the pigs were slaughtered and examined. To measure physial stress samples of creatine kinase, cortisol and lactate were measured in 48 pigs per week. Meat quality was quantified based on muscle ph and temperature 24hrs postmortem . Also colour and drip loss was scored. Higher levels of CK were found in the twelve and eighteen hour trips and in compartments near the back of the trailer. Pigs in the front compartment had little to no increases in stress. Summer was the season that caused the most stress to pigs in transport probably do to excess heat. Drip loss was degraded for pigs who took long trips and road in the back of the trailer, pigs in the front didn’t have any significant change in drip loss. Ph was highest for pigs traveling in the back of the trailer, although there was no change for six hour trips. The colour of the meat was darker in the back compartments. The study concludes that improvements in trailer design have potential to improve pig welfare and meat quality.