A multidisciplinary approach to assess the welfare of weaned pigs during transport at three space allowances

Mhairi A. Sutherland, Pamela J. Bryer, Brittany L. Davis, John J. McGlone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

Transport can be a stressful experience for pigs, especially in pigs simultaneously experiencing weaning stress. The objective of this study was to use a multidisciplinary approach to assess the welfare of weaned pigs during transport at 3 space allowances. A commercial semitrailer, fitted with compartments, provided 0.05, 0.06, and 0.07 m2/pig. The study recorded frequency of standing, lying, sitting, and standing-rearing on another pig during the entire duration of transport. Blood samples, body weights, and lesion scores were collected from a subset of pigs (n = 48 per space allowance) in each experimental compartment. Transport time for the pigs was 148.0 ± 10.0 min to the wean-to-finishing site. Total white blood cell counts, cortisol, and several blood chemistry values increased (p <.05) after transport regardless of space allowance. Glucose and body weight decreased (p <.05) after transport regardless of space allowance. Space allowance influenced stand-rearing, sitting, standing, and lying behaviors in pigs. Combining behavioral and physiological measures of stress provides a robust picture of piglet welfare during transport at different space allowances.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-249
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
Volume13
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2010

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