Factors Influencing Pig Deaths During Transit: An Analysis of Drivers' Reports
Abstract:A haulage company, transporting pigs for a marketing group, has monitored information about journeys and kept records of deaths in transit (DIT). These data can be used to set guidelines and they highlight those areas of pig transport that need further study.
Factors, other than genetic ones, which may contribute to the rate of DIT were considered. A strict seasonal effect was not apparent, but where conditions were hot and wet there was an increase in DIT. There was also a time of day' effect, with transport in the afternoon showing a higher rate of DIT than transport in the morning. It was observed that if pigs were deemed dirty at loading then DIT were more likely. Clean pigs at loading could indicate that hygienic and environmental conditions in the finishing stage were good. Individual producers showed a wide variation in their rate of DIT, with some producers regularly experiencing a high level. Routine monitoring of the rate of DIT and transport conditions could help to pinpoint the source, and possible cause, of the problem.
Information that helps in the understanding of transit deaths is important because if stress in the period from selection to slaughter can be reduced, there should be both economic as well as welfare benefits.