Effects of the season of the year, truck type and location on truck on skin bruises and meat quality in pigs
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The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of the season of the year (summer vs winter), type of truck (A: single decker vs B : double-decker) and pig location on the truck (front, middle, rear) on the incidence of skin bruising and pork quality variation. For this purpose, 2660 gilts of an average weight of 126.7 (+/- 6.6) kg originating from 19 different farms were used. No interaction between season of the year, type of truck and location on truck was observed. A higher number of bruises on the body at unloading and slaughter (P < 0.0001) and a higher number of bruises on the carcass (P < 0.01) were observed in winter. At unloading a higher number of bruises on the body and on the carcass after slaughter was observed in pigs transported on Truck A (P=0.004 and P=0.05). A higher, although not significant, number of bruises was found on the body of pigs transported in the rear compartment of both trucks. Higher paleness value was found in the longissimus and semimembranosus muscles in summer (P=0.0001) than in winter. Cold and heat stress have a negative influence on skin bruises and meat quality, respectively. Poor vehicle design increases the incidence of bruised carcasses without detracting from pork quality regardless of the climate conditions tested and location of the animal it] the truck. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.