Lowering Stress To Improve
Meat Quality and Animal Welfare In Pigs

All livestock must have access to clean drinking water. During hot weather (over 70 degrees F or 21 degrees C ) pigs should be sprinkled with water in the stockyard pens. For maximum cooling effect, the sprinklers should have a coarse enough spray to wet the animals. Sprinklers that make a fine mist should not be used because they tend to increase the humidity rather than cool the pigs. Sprinkler water should flow intermittently to keep pigs wet at all times.

Keeping pigs cool is very important because a hot pig will have more PSE (pale, soft, exudative, stressed pork).Pigs become over heated easily because they have a layer of fat and they do not sweat.

All pig plants should have a staging area prior to the stunning chute where pigs can be showered prior to stunning during cold weather.

Handling Tips To Reduce PSE In Pigs At Slaughter Plants

  1. Careful, quiet handling.
  2. Prior to slaughter, allow the pigs 2 to 4 hours of rest.
  3. During hot weather sprinkle animals with water to keep them cool.
  4. Provide adequate pen space - 6 sq.ft (.558 sq.m) per slaughter weight pig.
  5. The crowd pen that leads to the single file race should be filled only HALF full. Move small bunches of pigs.
  6. Reduce or eliminate electric prod usage.

Handling Pigs for Optimum Performance

Principles of Low Stress Restraint

How Stressful is Slaughter?

Preventing Bloodsplash (Bloodspots)

Electric Stunning of Pigs

Dealing with Excitable Pigs

References :

Stunning References

Grandin, T. 1994
Euthanasia and Slaughter of Livestock
Journal of American Veterinary Medical Association
volume 204 : 1354 - 1360