Relationships between behavioral and meat quality characteristics of pigs raised under barren and enriched housing conditions

Re. Klont et al., Relationships between behavioral and meat quality characteristics of pigs raised under barren and enriched housing conditions, J ANIM SCI, 79(11), 2001, pp. 2835-2843
Citations number
Categorie Soggetti
Animal Sciences
Journal title
ISSN journal
0021-8812 → ACNP
Year of publication
2835 - 2843
SICI code
In this study the effects of barren vs enriched housing conditions of pigs on their behavior during the lairage period (2-h holding period before slau ghter), carcass characteristics, postmortem muscle metabolism, and meat qua lity were studied. The barren housing system was defined by common intensiv e housing conditions (i.e., with slatted floors and recommended space allow ances), whereas the enriched environment incorporated extra space and straw for manipulation. Salivary cortisol concentrations were measured before tr ansport and at the end of the lairage period. During the lairage period the percentage of time spent walking and fighting by the pigs was registered. Carcass characteristics such as weight, meat percentage, and backfat thickn ess were determined. At 5 min, 45 min, 4 h, and 24 h postmortem, pH, temper ature, and lactate concentrations were determined in the longissimus lumbor um (LL) and biceps femoris (BF)muscles. Capillarization of the muscle, mean muscle fiber area, and color and drip loss after 2 and 5 d of storage were determined for both muscle types. Pigs from the barren environment had a s ignificantly higher increase in cortisol from farm to slaughter, but no dif ferences in behavior were observed during the lairage period. Carcass chara cteristics did not differ between pigs from barren and those from enriched housing conditions. Postmortem lactate formation was significantly lower in LL muscles of enriched pigs at 4 and 24 h postmortem. Capillary density an d mean muscle fiber area did not differ between the groups of pigs. The per centage of drip loss at 2 and 5 d after storage of LL muscle samples from e nriched-housed pigs was significantly lower than that of the barren-housed pigs. Similar tendencies were found for the BF muscle from pigs kept in an enriched environment, but these were not statistically significant. The hou sing system did not affect meat color. It is concluded that on-farm improve ment of animal welfare by environmental enrichment can also lead to benefic ial economic effects after slaughter by improving the water-holding capacit y of pork.