The impact of the transport distance and season on losses of fattened pigs during transport to the slaughterhouse in the Czech Republic in the period from 1997 to 2004
V. Vecerek, M. Malena, M. Malena, E. Voslarova, P. Chloupekhttps://doi.org/10.17221/5513-VETMEDCitation:Vecerek V., Malena M., Malena M., Voslarova E., Chloupek P. (2006): The impact of the transport distance and season on losses of fattened pigs during transport to the slaughterhouse in the Czech Republic in the period from 1997 to 2004. Veterinarni Medicina, 51: 21-28.
The welfare conditions in animal transport have a significant impact on the levels of stress burden on animals before slaughter in the slaughterhouse, and have an impact on veterinary decision-making about meat and organ edibility, and also on the quality of slaughtered animal meat. The ratio of ensuring the level of welfare in animal transport can be taken as the numbers of animals having died during transport and having died in the slaughterhouse shortly after transport is completed. As to the kinds of animals raised for meat, the issue of mortality in relation to transport is especially significant in pigs. In the period from 1997 to 2004, the transport of slaughter pigs, in terms of the protection of the animals against cruelty, was monitored in theCzechRepublic. The aim was to ascertain pig losses in relation to transport to the slaughterhouse, to find out the impact of transport distance on losses of these pigs, and to determine the impact of the different seasons on losses of these pigs. The data concerning pigs fed for slaughter in the slaughterhouse (fattening pigs) was analysed, the data did not include the information concerning small sows, sows and boar kept for breeding and now excluded from breeding and slaughtered in the slaughterhouse. We have established the pig mortality level to be 0.107% ± 0.013%. However, this mortality level changed depending on the transport distance – from 0.062% ± 0.007% in the case of transport distances up to 50 km, to 0.335% ± 0.113% in the case of transport distances over and above 300 km. The level of losses of pigs increased with the length of transport distances, which is given to the long-term and higher-stress burdens in these pigs caused by longer transportation times. The seasons are expressed by the individual months, and had an impact on the transported pigs’ mortality number. Altogether, the highest losses occurred in the summer months, especially in June, July, and August. The increased mortality in the summer months is related to the higher ambient temperature in these months, which has a negative impact on the welfare of the pigs, and thus also on the higher pig losses during transport. The ascertained results produced evidence for the relatively high sensitivity of pigs to the stress burden caused by transport to the slaughterhouse and showing themselves in the number of pigs having died due to transport. The increasing transport distance and higher ambient temperature in the summer months show themselves in the increased number of pigs having died in relation to their transport to the slaughterhouse.Keywords:
welfare; stress; slaughter pigs; transportation time; ambient temperature; summer months