A preliminary observational study was undertaken to examine the effect of road transport on finisher pigs that were being transported to an abattoir in New Zealand. Temperature and humidity within a stock-truck were recorded during multiple trips over a three-year period and a video camera was employed to observe the behaviour of the pigs that were being transported. The videos produced were used to establish the times at which open-mouth breathing (OMB; an indicator for heat-stress in pigs) commenced. The videos revealed that OMB was found to occur throughout the year, including during the winter months, but that it occurred mostly during stationary periods when the truck stopped for driver breaks. A temperature-humidity index was utilised to ascertain what may have triggered the OMB and it was observed that the behaviour typically started when that index reached 72. The study suggests that the welfare of pigs may have been compromised by heat-stress over many of the journeys that were monitored. Keywords: heat-stress; pigs; temperature-humidity index; transport stress
New Zealand Journal of Animal Science and Production, Volume 82, Online, 01-06, 2022
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