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Animals 2018, 8(7), 118; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8070118

Effect of Environmental Enrichment and Herbal Compounds-Supplemented Diet on Pig Carcass, Meat Quality Traits, and Consumers’ Acceptability and Preference

1
IRTA, Veïnat de Sies s/n, 17121 Monells, Spain
2
Department of Animal and Food Science, School of Veterinary Science, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 08193 Bellaterra (Barcelona), Spain
3
IRTA, Finca Camps i Armet s/n, 17121 Monells, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 24 April 2018 / Revised: 10 July 2018 / Accepted: 14 July 2018 / Published: 16 July 2018
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Simple Summary

Interest in animal welfare has increased and been considered a relevant attribute for the concept of the ethical quality of pig products. The present study suggests that consumers would appreciate particular improvements on animal welfare such as providing environmental enrichment or herbal compounds. The provision of those welfare improvement strategies did not have a significant effect on technological carcass and meat quality parameters. However, the strategies used in this study that can increase animal welfare in production systems were valued by consumers.

Abstract

Animal welfare can be considered an ethical attribute of product quality, but consumers should appreciate its added value. The aim of this study was to evaluate consumer’s acceptability, preference, and the meat and carcass quality of pigs reared with two stress-reducing strategies: supplementation of an herbal compound (HC) containing Valeriana officinalis and Passiflora incarnata, and environmental enrichment (EE) by the provision of hemp ropes, sawdust, and rubber balls. A total of 56 pigs were divided in four treatments in two pens of seven pigs per treatment (2 × 2 factorial design). Meat and carcass quality were evaluated. Consumer’s acceptability and preference were analysed with a sensory test and a conjoint analysis in 110 consumers. Before slaughter, control pigs (no EE and no HC) presented lower live weight compared with other treatments (p = 0.0009). Although acceptance was the same for all of the treatments, consumers preferred systems aiming to increase pig welfare. The most important factor was production system, with a preference for those improving welfare, followed by feeding system, with a preference for those with natural herbs supplementation. Although price was the least important factor, a segment of consumers showed a clear preference for lower prices. These results suggest that welfare improvements could be appreciated by particular consumer segments. View Full-Text
Keywords: pork quality; environmental enrichment; herbal compounds; conjoint analysis; sensory analysis pork quality; environmental enrichment; herbal compounds; conjoint analysis; sensory analysis
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Casal, N.; Font-i-Furnols, M.; Gispert, M.; Manteca, X.; Fàbrega, E. Effect of Environmental Enrichment and Herbal Compounds-Supplemented Diet on Pig Carcass, Meat Quality Traits, and Consumers’ Acceptability and Preference. Animals 2018, 8, 118.

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