Pig Loading Decision Tree

By Sarah Fischer, Ontario Pork - This article is a flow chart that looks at the decisions farmers need to make when loading pigs.
calendar icon 30 January 2006
clock icon 4 minute read
Euthanize Non-Ambulatory (see box below) Any case where pigs are unable to eat or drink due to injury or disease Chronic ”poor-doers“ or extremely thin pigs Pigs suffering from severe non-responsive disease Prolapsed uterus Arthritis involving multiple joints Nervous disorders, such as rabies must be reported, to CFIA; contact your vet before euthanizing Fractures that impede movement Hernia that: impedes movement, is painful, touches the ground
Assess/Seek Veterinary Advice fever due to disease process sows likely to farrow during transport or upon arrival at market or farrowed within 48 hrs pigs showing signs of:
  • exhaustion
  • heat stress
  • weakness
  • porcine stress syndrome
Transport Direct to Processor* abscess and local infections (no fever) prolapsed vagina or rectum Lameness Classes 1, 2 (see reverse) penile or vulva injury severe dewclaw injury first stage anorexia or weight loss (no fever) blind frost bite

(within 24 - 36 hours)
Transport Direct to Emergency Processing Facility severe, recent injury severe tail bite or vulva bite severe smoke inhalation

These pigs must walk on their own and travel in a small compartment, individually or with one quiet pig.

Federal Transportation Regulations


Segregate boars, animals of, different weights and ages, or if incompatible by nature. Provide proper ventilation, drainage and absorption of urine. Have sufficient headroom for animals to stand in a natural position. Either strew the vehicle with sand or have the vehicle fitted with safe footholds, in addition to appropriate bedding. Ensure that animals unloaded for feed, water and rest remain at least five hours and longer, if necessary, for all animals to receive food and water. Ensure that animals segregated in trucks receive extra protection from cold and wind chill; supply ample bedding. Euthanize animals promptly as the conditions outlined on the reverse occur.


Transport a sick or injured animal where undue suffering may result, or when the animal is liable to give birth during the journey. Continue to transport an animal that is injured, becomes ill, or is otherwise unfit to travel beyond the nearest place it can be treated. Mishandle an animal on loading or unloading. Use goads or prods on the face, anal, udder or genital area. Load or unload animals in a way that would cause injury or undue suffering. Crowd animals to such an extent as to cause injury or undue suffering. Transport livestock in trailers not designed for safe handling of that species or class of livestock.
Source: Transporting Livestock by Truck (CFIA)

Lameness Classes
These categories can be used to determine the status of an animal’s mobility, from normal to non-ambulatory.
Transport as soon as possible

Class 1
Visibly lame but can keep up with the group.

Class 2
Unable to keep up; some difficulty climbing ramps. Load in rear compartment.

Do Not Load or Transport*

Class 3
Requires assistance to rise but can walk freely.

Class 4
Requires assistance to rise; reluctant to walk; halted movement.

Class 5
Unable to rise or remain standing.

* Classes 3, 4 or 5 may be loaded for transport for veterinary treatment under veterinary supervision.

Source: Ontario Pork - July 2005
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