Stress Response and Meat Quality of Pigs Transported in a Pot-Belly Truck During Summer and Winter
Transport of pigs involves a large number of potential stressors that could have an effect on meat quality and value of the carcass. Long distances and extreme weather conditions are often present in western Canada transportation. Dual purpose trailers can accommodate pigs or cattle, with dual purpose pot-belly trucks using several steep internal ramps to get pigs into their compartment. Summer and winter conditions were used to study meat quality and stress in pigs transported from Saskatoon to Brandon. Greater stress and differences in meat quality were found in pigs transported in the bottom nose compartment. They had to use two ramps in the truck to get to their compartment which resulted in higher heart rates when loading and in the winter, higher heart rates throughout the transport period. Higher lactate levels were found in these pigs and a higher pH in muscles, indicating that their energy stores have been depleted. Firm, dark and dry condition of meat were found which indicate an extended period of stress.