Effects of Transport Conditions and Vehicle Design on the Welfare and Meat Quality of Pigs in Western and Eastern Canada
Transport conditions can have an impact on the economics of pork production and on animal welfare. Swine transportation in Canada is highly variable in the aspects of seasonal changes, distance of transport and types of vehicles used. Differences in truck compartments, truck types and seasons were observed. Steep internal ramps in potbelly trailers increased heart rate and impacted handling behaviour. Pot belly trailer compartments varied in temperatures in all seasons. The temperatures and handling conditions did have an impact on pork quality. When longer transport times were involved, a higher incidence of dark firm and moderate or dry pork was found. Higher rates of pale, soft and exudative (PSE) or moderate PSE pork was found in summer trials. Trucks that do not require internal ramps, such as the 10W truck have improved welfare with easier loading. Due to the reduced capacity of these trucks, they are less economical so alternative designs should be in mind.