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): Dr. Temple Grandin
Publication Date: January 1, 2003
Reference: Proceedings of the 2003 Saskatchewan Pork Industry Symposium
Country: Canada


Conditions of animal slaughter improved greatly once McDonalds started their plant-auditing program. Now 90% of plants are able to stun 95% or more of the cattle with a single shot. A lot of these improvements have come from making minor changes to the already existing processes. An example of this improvement is a non-slippery surface on the kill floor to prevent pigs from stressing. This trend caught on as now many restaurants and grocery stores have begun auditing slaughter plants too. The American Meat Institute utilizes a critical control point to monitor the process of stunning and animal handling. This is based on the number of animals stunned correctly first shot, percent of animals remaining dead on bleed rail (this needs 100%!), cattle that moo while moving through the chutes and while stunning, amount of prodding, and amount of animals that slip or fall. The New Guidelines from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association have created an audit for beef and dairy producers. This is done by measuring and scoring certain procedures that are performed routinely on a farm. These are standardized scores and a certain score must be achieved to be accepted. Many of these are based on what the public would deem acceptable. If animals suffer or are poorly treated, obviously the public would be horrified. These scores ensure that safe and sound practices are adhered to. A trend among the public on animal production is that people treat animals poorly, care more about profit, produce unhealthy food, is hazardous to the environment, etc. The agricultural industry has responded with programs to give the public more information as to what really goes on behind closed doors. Fast food chains have improved the quality of the egg laying industry, which was in need of a change. Egg laying facilities had great welfare issues (such as far too little space and cruelty), and these chains have helped improve the welfare of these hens. To improve pig welfare, changes to the loading and unloading must be administered. Non-slip floors are essential, as are properly designed loading/unloading ramps (this includes proper angle and width). Ramps must be specific to the level of production because nursery piglets can injure their feet on market hog ramps. Alleys should be free of drafts and bright lights that could halt pig flow. Longer truck trips should use a bigger trailer to allow more space per pig. Longer trips (3 hours or more) should allow enough space for the pigs to lie down. Fasting of 16 to 24 hours can help to minimize motion sickness. Adequate bedding should be provided in cold weather to prevent frostbite, and adequate ventilation should be provided in the summer to cool the pigs. Wet shavings or sand should be used in the summer because straw gets too warm.

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