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Animals 2017, 7(2), 10;

Relationship between Deck Level, Body Surface Temperature and Carcass Damages in Italian Heavy Pigs after Short Journeys at Different Unloading Environmental Conditions

Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences, School of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, University of Bologna, Via Fanin 50, Bologna 40127, Italy
Department of Veterinary Science and Public Health, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Milan, Via Celoria 10, Milan 20133, Italy
OPAS, Pig Farmer Association, Strada Ghisiolo 57, San Giorgio, Mantua 46030, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: John J. McGlone and Anna K. Johnson
Received: 30 September 2016 / Revised: 6 February 2017 / Accepted: 7 February 2017 / Published: 10 February 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pig Transport 2016)
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In order to evaluate the relationships between deck level, body surface temperature and carcass damages after a short journey (30 min), 10 deliveries of Italian heavy pigs, including a total of 1400 animals from one farm, were examined. Within 5 min after the arrival at the abattoir, the vehicles were unloaded. Environmental temperature and relative humidity were recorded and a Temperature Humidity Index (THI) was calculated. After unloading, maximum temperatures of dorsal and ocular regions were measured by a thermal camera on groups of pigs from each of the unloaded decks. After dehairing, quarters and whole carcasses were evaluated subjectively by a trained operator for skin damage using a four-point scale. On the basis of THI at unloading, deliveries were grouped into three classes. Data of body surface temperature and skin damage score were analysed in a model including THI class, deck level and their interaction. Regardless of pig location in the truck, the maximum temperature of the dorsal and ocular regions increased with increasing THI class. Within each THI class, the highest and lowest body surface temperatures were found in pigs located on the middle and upper decks, respectively. Only THI class was found to affect the skin damage score (p < 0.05), which increased on quarters and whole carcasses with increasing THI class. The results of this study on short-distance transport of Italian heavy pigs highlighted the need to control and ameliorate the environmental conditions in the trucks, even at relatively low temperature and THI, in order to improve welfare and reduce loss of carcass value. View Full-Text
Keywords: pigs; transport; distance; body surface temperature; carcass; damage pigs; transport; distance; body surface temperature; carcass; damage

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Arduini, A.; Redaelli, V.; Luzi, F.; Dall’Olio, S.; Pace, V.; Nanni Costa, L. Relationship between Deck Level, Body Surface Temperature and Carcass Damages in Italian Heavy Pigs after Short Journeys at Different Unloading Environmental Conditions. Animals 2017, 7, 10.

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