Transport of market pigs: Improvements in welfare and economics

John J. McGlone, Anna K. Johnson, Avi Sapkota, Rebecca K. Kephart

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Over 113 million pigs are transported to market in the course of commercial production in the USA. Transportation losses are an issue in terms of both welfare and economics. Different shapes and sizes of vehicles are used globally, and vehicle choices are based on the number of animals to be transported, weather conditions of the region, facilities available, laws and professional judgement. For most of the pigs, transportation is a novel or unfamiliar experience, which can be stressful. Enrichments at the time of rearing can ease the handling process. Transportation stress can be affected by the events even before actual transportation starts or after the trip has ended; these include rearing, and the loading and unloading processes. Selection of appropriate handling tools can ease loading and unloading in terms of pig welfare, efficiency and safety of handlers. Stress levels of pigs and handlers can also be minimized using proper design of ramps and elevators (lifts) for loading and unloading. Appropriate ramp material, design, lighting, cleat spacing and ramp angle are the points to be considered when designing ramps. On the trailer, space per pig, group size, levels and quality of bedding, boarding, sprinkling, distance transported and other on-board facilities such as feed and water can have impacts on pig welfare, transportation losses and overall economics.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLivestock Handling and Transport
Subtitle of host publicationFourth Edition
PublisherCABI International
Number of pages17
ISBN (Print)9781780643212
StatePublished - Jun 17 2014


  • Loading ramps
  • Space allowance
  • Stocking density
  • Transport


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