Effects of the truck suspension system on animal welfare, carcass and meat quality traits in pigs
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The objective of this study was to assess the effects of two types of commercial suspension (leaf-spring (LS) vs. air suspension (AS)) installed on two similar double-decked trucks on blood cortisol and lactate concentration, lairage behavior, carcass skin lesions and pork quality traits of 120 crossbred pigs. The suspension type neither influenced pig behaviour in lairage nor blood cortisol and lactate concentrations (p > 0.10). However, when compared with the AS suspension system, the use of LS increased the number of skin lesions in the back and thigh (p = 0.03 and p = 0.01, respectively) and produced thigh with lower pHu (p < 0.001) and yellower colour (higher b* value; p = 0.03), and paler back muscles (subjective colour; p < 0.05), with a tendency to lower pH (p = 0.06). Therefore, the use air suspension system can improve carcass and meat quality traits of pigs transported to slaughter.