Industry Partners

Prairie Swine Centre is an affiliate of the University of Saskatchewan

Prairie Swine Centre is grateful for the assistance of the George Morris Centre in developing the economics portion of Pork Insight.

Financial support for the Enterprise Model Project and Pork Insight has been provided by:

Author(s): Temple Grandin
Publication Date: January 1, 2002
Reference: Proceedings of the 2002 Manitoba Swine Seminar
Country: Canada


Genetics plays a role in swine behavior. There are certain genetic lines of pigs that have extreme bulging hams which can lead to broken bones at kill time and damaged meat. Simply walking the finisher pens each day for 10 to 15 seconds reduces the stress and in turn the damage at time of slaughter. What this does is makes the pigs not too panicked at slaughter but also not so tame that they are difficult to move. 12 steps are offered for quality handling of finisher pigs which address moving, grouping, and transport to minimize death losses and damage from fighting. 6 steps are offered for packer plants to reduce the stress on the pigs and reduce the risk of quality reduction (these steps include low-stress handling and environmental concerns). Genetic companies should be looking at selecting for low-stress animals.

PSE (pale, soft, and exudative) pork is the result of genetics, producers, and packers. PSE can be reduced by using quality genetics, transporting longer distances (if possible), and fasting pigs 12 to 24 hours prior to slaughter. Using genetics to eliminate the stress gene (especially in confinement facilities) will allow for easier single file movement to slaughter in the packing plant and also reduce excitability, which can cause meat damage. Environmental stimulation in the finisher barn such as toys or a radio can help adapt pigs to sudden noises and therefore reduce stress. 9 points are given for packers to reduce the incidence of PSE, which include handling and environmental factors. Reducing heat will reduce PSE as well as dark firm dry (DFD) meat. 6 steps are also given to help eliminate bloodsplash, which is an aesthetic defect caused by mini hemorrhages in the meat. This includes adjusting kill wattage, bleeding quickly, avoiding double stunning, reducing prods, using quality equipment, and CO2 killing.

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