Factors affecting the number of weaned piglets found dead after commercial transport between farms were studied by means of multilevel Poisson regression. Information relating to 58,682 piglets during 109 journeys in different EU countries was collected at the end of each journey by means of questionnaires. Overall, 0.07 per cent of all the transported piglets were found dead on arrival, and deaths of piglets were recorded in 13.8 per cent of journeys. The final regression model, which was calculated using the complete records from 105 journeys, included the total duration of the journey, the mean outside temperature during the journey, whether the piglets were fasted before transport, whether drinking water was provided, the type of ventilation in the vehicle and the interaction between journey duration and the mean outside temperature. The duration of the journey and the mean outside temperature showed a significant interaction effect, with a gradual increase in the predicted number of dead piglets with increasing journey duration as the outside temperature increased. Providing the piglets with drinking water and having mechanically assisted ventilation (fans) in the vehicle during the journey significantly reduced the number of deaths, as did fasting the piglets before transport.
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Provenance not commissioned; externally peer reviewed