Loading gantry versus traditional chute for the finisher pig: Effect on welfare at the time of loading and performance measures and transport losses at the harvest facility

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2012-11-01
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Stalder, Kenneth
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Lonergan, Steven
Morrill Professor
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Johnson, Anna
Professor Animal Behavior and Welfare
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Karriker, Locke
Morrill Professor
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Animal Science

The Department of Animal Science originally concerned itself with teaching the selection, breeding, feeding and care of livestock. Today it continues this study of the symbiotic relationship between animals and humans, with practical focuses on agribusiness, science, and animal management.

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The Department of Animal Husbandry was established in 1898. The name of the department was changed to the Department of Animal Science in 1962. The Department of Poultry Science was merged into the department in 1971.

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The objectives of these studies were to evaluate the loading system effects [traditional chute (TC) vs. prototype loading gantry (PLG)] on i) welfare measures at loading and ii) performance measures and transport losses at the harvest facility for the market-weight pig (Sus scrofa). This study compared first pull (FP), which was the first group of pigs, and close out (CO), which was the last group of pigs marketed from a finishing facility. Experiment 1 evaluated 74 loads for welfare measures at loading on the farm, and Exp. 2 evaluated 497 loads for performance measures and transport losses at the harvest facility. Data were analyzed using the PROC Mixed procedure for Exp. 1 and PROC GLIMMIX procedure of SAS for Exp. 2. In Exp. 1, pigs loaded using the PLG had fewer (P × 0.0002) electric prod touches, slips, falls, vocalizations, and pile ups compared with pigs loaded on the TC during FP and CO. In Exp. 2, there were no (P > 0.05) differences for any performance measures between loading systems or by pull. Pigs loaded using the prototype PLG loading gantry experienced fewer (P = 0.03) total transport losses than pigs loaded using the TC in the FP. In conclusion, the prototype loading gantry improved all welfare measures at the time of loading and reduced overall total transport losses. These studies demonstrate that loading systems that improve on-farm swine welfare at loading and reduce transport losses at the harvest facility can be designed.

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This article is from Journal of Animal Science 90 (2012): 4028–4036, doi:10.2527/jas.2011-4973.

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Sun Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2012
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