Abstract / Description of output
Current legislation in the European Union places limits on live pig transport according to outside temperature, but less is known about the effects of sudden changes in the thermal microenvironment in trailers, particularly during long-distance transport. In this study, we measured the temperature and relative humidity inside livestock vehicles carrying 1920 Spanish finisher pigs (live weight 100 kg and 240 animals per journey) during eight long-distance (>15 h) commercial journeys to slaughter from northern Spain to Portugal in the summer and winter. Here, we report the rate of change in the air temperature (°C × min-1) and air enthalpies in the transport vehicle (kg water kg dry air-1). At sticking, blood samples were taken for to measure cortisol, glucose, and creatine kinase (CK) as stress response indicators, and the meat pH after 45 min and the pH after 24 h were also determined. The rate of change in the air temperature and enthalpy was higher inside the livestock vehicle during the winter months and was positively related with higher cortisol and glucose levels and lower pH after 45 min (p < 0.05). It is proposed that the rate of temperature change and air enthalpy represent useful integrated indices of thermal stress for pigs during transport.