The effect of transportation and pre-slaughter detention on quality of pig meat
Keywords:pork, meat quality, pig stress, cortisol, lactate
This research aimed to determine the influence of stress of various etiologies in pigs caused by transportation and pre-slaughter conditions on meat quality. For this purpose, pigs were divided into 11 groups within two meat processing enterprises, depending on the duration of transportation (short, long without breaks and long with breaks) and the conditions of keeping animals before slaughter. Also, within the two groups were created two subgroups with pigs of different breeds. A total of 156 pigs were studied. Blood was collected from all pigs to determine cortisol and lactate levels, and a sample of meat from the longest back muscle. The pH of the meat was determined at different stages of its maturation, and the weight loss of the sample was determined. As a result of the research, it was found that the highest quality pork was obtained from pigs that experienced lower levels of stress before slaughter. Keeping pigs for 10 – 14 hours before slaughter without access to water and food resulted in higher stress levels, which were probably expressed in higher blood concentrations of cortisol and lactate. Pigs’ access to food and water during pre-slaughter retention allows for high-quality meat by reducing the influence of stress. Pigs’ access to water before pre-slaughter does not affect the stress level but positively affects the loss of meat weight during maturation. The higher the concentration of lactate in pigs’ blood, the faster the pH of the meat decreases after slaughter, which negatively affects its quality and moisture retention. If there is a long-term transport of pigs, there is no rest stop that can significantly reduce stress levels in pigs. Duration of transportation of pigs does not correlate with stress levels, as the conditions before slaughter content.
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