Modifying Ramps to Load Pigs Reduces Stress During Transport

CANADA - A Meat Scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada says, decreasing the slope of the ramps used to load pigs onto trailers will decrease their risk of fatigue and possible death during transport, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 23 January 2017
clock icon 3 minute read

Transport is typically the most stressful period during the life of the pig.

Dr Luigi Faucitano, a Meat Scientist with the Sherbrooke Research Centre of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, told those on hand last week for the 2017 Banff Pork Seminar, while death losses during transport in Canada are about half those in other regions, such as the United States, any such loss is an expense to the producer.

Dr Luigi Faucitano-Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada:

We compared the pot-belly trailer and the compact truck, which is a truck and a trailer with hydraulic features, on two decks with a top deck being operated hydraulically and we noted more death losses in the pot-belly trailer compared to the other one.

When we studied only the pot-belly trailer we compared compartment, locations within the trailer.

We observed, like in the previous trial, that more losses were in the top deck, in the bottom deck because of the ramp.

The pigs were more fatigued at loading so they couldn't recover from the stress of loading from negotiating the ramp and they eventually died during travel.

The ramp inside the trailer within loading systems is something that should be avoided or corrected.
Replacing ramps with hydraulic devices, with hydraulic decks is a solution.

Otherwise, for truckers who do not want to replace the trailer with a new one, they just have to modify their pot-belly trailer with ramps, modifying the ramps in terms of slope, decreasing the slope, building less steep ramps.

Dr Luigi Faucitano says, while we can not completely eliminate stress during transport, we can limit it.

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