Abstracts: Discomfort period of fattening pigs and sows stunned with CO2: Duration and potential influencing factors in a commercial setting

Despite raising animal welfare concerns, stunning of pigs with CO2 prior to slaughter remains the most widely applied method in commercial settings.

The aim of this study was to assess the discomfort period and its influencing factors in fattening pigs and sows in a commercial slaughterhouse.

The discomfort period was defined as the first reaction to the gas or the environment from the point the animal enters the gondola, until complete relaxation of its head.

Results showed that the discomfort period lasted 11 s longer in sows than in pigs, and that certain behaviors occurred distinctly later in sows as compared to pigs.

Furthermore, higher humidity and temperature in the pit could prolong the duration of the discomfort period.

Further research is needed to better understand the underlying physiological processes for both the differences seen between sows and fattening pigs as well as the influence of ambient parameters.

Isabel Lechner 1, Anaïs Léger 2, Aurelia Zimmermann 3, Sophie Atkinson 4, Manon Schuppers 2

Meat Sci. 2021 Sep;179:108535.doi: 10.1016/j.meatsci.2021.108535.

1SAFOSO AG, Waldeggstrasse 1, 3097 Liebefeld, Switzerland. Electronic address: isabel.lechner@safoso.ch.

2SAFOSO AG, Waldeggstrasse 1, 3097 Liebefeld, Switzerland.

3Micarna SA, Dept. Sustainability and Animal Welfare, 1784 Courtepin, Switzerland.

4Smart Animal Handling, Hagaberg 110, 74020, Vänge, Uppsala, Sweden.

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