This work provides a narrative review of the available information on the welfare of Italian heavy pigs in the pre-slaughter phase (transport, lairage, and stunning). The meat from these pigs is used for specific PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) products, and the production rules for these specialties require higher body weight (160–170 kg) and age (in general more than 9 months) at slaughter than in most other countries. This may lead to specific behavioral and physiological needs of pigs. The present paper summarizes the main research findings and knowledge gaps for each of the pre-slaughter phases. Studies are presented according to the four principles of the Welfare Quality assessment protocol (good feeding, good housing, good health, and appropriate behavior). The results of the literature review indicate a lack of knowledge on several aspects. Most of studies were carried out in a single slaughterhouse, making it difficult to identify risk factors and confounding effects. Moreover, animal-based measures were assessed using different protocols, reducing the possibility of comparison across studies. These findings may serve as a basis for the development of specific research studies and policies aimed at enhancing the animal welfare level and the ethical attributes of this renowned production, also in accordance with consumers’ expectations.

Literature Review on the Pre-Slaughter Welfare of Italian Heavy Pigs

Vitali, Marika;Sardi, Luca
;
Martelli, Giovanna;Nannoni, Eleonora
2021

Abstract

This work provides a narrative review of the available information on the welfare of Italian heavy pigs in the pre-slaughter phase (transport, lairage, and stunning). The meat from these pigs is used for specific PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) products, and the production rules for these specialties require higher body weight (160–170 kg) and age (in general more than 9 months) at slaughter than in most other countries. This may lead to specific behavioral and physiological needs of pigs. The present paper summarizes the main research findings and knowledge gaps for each of the pre-slaughter phases. Studies are presented according to the four principles of the Welfare Quality assessment protocol (good feeding, good housing, good health, and appropriate behavior). The results of the literature review indicate a lack of knowledge on several aspects. Most of studies were carried out in a single slaughterhouse, making it difficult to identify risk factors and confounding effects. Moreover, animal-based measures were assessed using different protocols, reducing the possibility of comparison across studies. These findings may serve as a basis for the development of specific research studies and policies aimed at enhancing the animal welfare level and the ethical attributes of this renowned production, also in accordance with consumers’ expectations.
Vitali, Marika; Sardi, Luca; Martelli, Giovanna; Nannoni, Eleonora
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/839647
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