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Financial impact of lesions in slaughter pigs

S. Harley, L. A. Boyle, N. E. O'Connell, S. J. More, D. L. Teixeira, A. Hanlon

LOIN bruising, bursitis and tail lesions in pigs at slaughter can all indicate poor animal welfare during rearing and transportation. This study aimed to assess the prevalence of such welfare-related lesions among pigs slaughtered at a large abattoir in Ireland, and to estimate the financial losses associated with them.

Data were collected over seven days at an abattoir with an average throughput of around 10,500 pigs per week. Every third carcase in the line was assessed and scored for lesions.

Data on a total of 3422 carcases were included in the final analysis. Of these, 85 were condemned. Tail lesions were found in 2481 (73 per cent) carcases. Males were more frequently affected by tail lesions than females. Severe loin bruising was present in 549 (16 per cent) pigs and severe hindlimb bursitis was seen in 1504 (44 per cent). There was a negative association between tail lesion severity score and carcase weight, but no such association between hindlimb bruising or bursitis and carcase weight. In an economic analysis, the researchers estimated that the cost of weight loss due to tail lesions in terms of …

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