Travel Sickness and Meat Quality in Pigs
An experiment was conducted to investigate the incidence of travel sickness in pigs, specific hormone concentrations at exsanguination and subsequent meat quality. Fifty, 80kg slaughter pigs were transported on a lorry for 4.5h. During the journey, behavioural observations of the individually marked pigs were made by scanning every 8min to establish whether the pigs exhibited certain symptoms of travel sickness (foaming at the mouth and chomping) and incidences of retching and vomiting were noted as they occurred. Upon arrival at the slaughterhouse, pigs were unloaded, slaughtered immediately and a blood sample was taken at exsanguination for analysis of plasma cortisol, beta-endorphin and lysine vasopressin concentrations. On the day following slaughter, the chilled carcase of each pig was assessed for meat quality (using pH, Fibre Optic Probe, and Tecpro Pork Quality Meter measurements) in the longissimus dorsi, semimembranosus and adductor muscles to determine the incidence of PSE (pale, soft, exudative) or DFD (dark, firm, dry) meat quality. Twenty-six per cent of the pigs (a total of 13 individuals) vomited or retched during the journey. There was no relationship between the incidence of travel sickness and either the concentrations of the hormones analysed at exsanguination or subsequent meat quality. Correlations revealed no significant relationship between concentrations of the hormones and meat quality measurements.
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