Simple Summary: The pot-belly trailer, which can transport large loads in a single journey, is commonly used for swine transportation in Canada. However, it is generally acknowledged that pot-belly trailers and some specific compartments within this vehicle are worse than others in terms of animal losses. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of pot-belly design on animal welfare and meat quality in pigs being transported long distance in two different seasons of the year.
Abstract: A total of 2,145 pigs were transported for 8 h in summer (six trips) and winter (five trips) using a pot-belly trailer accommodating pigs in four locations (upper deck or UD, bottom-nose or BN, middle deck or MD and bottom deck or BD). Heart rate of pigs during loading and transportation and lactate and creatine kinase (CK) concentrations in exsanguination blood were measured. Meat quality was evaluated in the Longissimus thoracis (LT), Semimembranosus (SM) and Adductor (AD) muscles. During summer, pigs loaded in the UD and MD had higher (P < 0.05) heart rate at loading compared to those located in the BD and BN. Blood lactate and CK concentrations were higher (P < 0.001) in winter than in summer. Lactate concentration was higher (P = 0.01) in the blood of pigs transported in the BN. Pigs transported in the BN had higher pHu values in the LT, SM and AD muscles (P = 0.02, P < 0.001 and P = 0.002, respectively) and lower (P = 0.002) drip loss values in the SM muscle. This study confirms that some locations within the PB trailer have a negative impact on the welfare of pigs at loading and during transport with more pronounced effects in the winter due to the additive effect of cold stress.
Keywords: blood metabolites; heart rate; pigs; pork quality; season; transport
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Correa, J.A.; Gonyou, H.; Torrey, S.; Widowski, T.; Bergeron, R.; Crowe, T.; Laforest, J.-P.; Faucitano, L. Welfare of Pigs Being Transported over Long Distances Using a Pot-Belly Trailer during Winter and Summer. Animals 2014, 4, 200-213.
Correa JA, Gonyou H, Torrey S, Widowski T, Bergeron R, Crowe T, Laforest J-P, Faucitano L. Welfare of Pigs Being Transported over Long Distances Using a Pot-Belly Trailer during Winter and Summer. Animals. 2014; 4(2):200-213.
Correa, Jorge A.; Gonyou, Harold; Torrey, Stephanie; Widowski, Tina; Bergeron, Renée; Crowe, Trever; Laforest, Jean-Paul; Faucitano, Luigi. 2014. "Welfare of Pigs Being Transported over Long Distances Using a Pot-Belly Trailer during Winter and Summer." Animals 4, no. 2: 200-213.