Effects of various pre-slaughter conditions on pig carcasses and meat quality in a low-input slaughter facility
The aim of this study was to determine the effects of gender, slaughter weight, stocking density, lairage time and season on carcass and meat quality parameters in a low-input production system. The study was conducted on 400 slaughter pigs (200 barrows and 200 gilts) with live weight of 115.0 ± 4.70 kg. Barrows had higher slaughter and carcass weights, fat thickness and lower meatiness. Heavier pigs had higher hot and cold carcass weights, fat thickness, lower meatiness, and higher incidences of pale, soft and exudative (PSE) and dark, firm and dry (DFD) meat. Low stocking density during transportation increased skin lesion score, pH45 value and the incidence of DFD meat; while high stocking density decreased pH45 value and increased T45 value and the incidence of PSE meat. Long lairaging reduced slaughter weight, carcass weight, dressing percentage and backfat thickness and increased skin lesion score. After overnight lairaging, pH45 value and the incidence of DFD meat became higher. After short lairaging, the pH45 value was lower, while the incidence of PSE meat increased. Pigs slaughtered in winter had the highest slaughter weight, backfat thickness, pH45 value and incidence of DFD, and the lowest meatiness. Pigs slaughtered in summer had the lowest slaughter and carcass weights and pH45 value, and the highest incidence of PSE meat. In conclusion, gender influenced carcass quality, slaughter weight and lairage time, and season affected carcass and meat quality, while stocking density had an impact on meat quality.
Keywords: DFD meat, gender, lairage time, low-input slaughter system, PSE meat, season, slaughter weight, stocking density