The aim of this pilot study was to evaluate the relationship between journey duration, deck level and activation patterns of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical axis (HPA) and sympathetic adrenal medullary system (SAM) in pigs. A total of 90 pigs were examined. The animals came from three different Italian farms associated with the same slaughterhouse located in Bari (Apulia region-Italy). A group of thirty animals was transported from Pordenone (11 h journey); a second group was transported from Terni (6.5 h journey); a third group was transported from Benevento (3 h journey). The animals were transported in the same vehicle, which complied with the structural characteristics indicated in the Council Regulation (EC) No. 1/2005. The truck was composed of a lorry and a trailer, each one divided into three decks. Only the animals transported in the trailer were tested for the study. Before transportation, blood samples were collected on each farm, at 6:00 a.m., from 30 pigs randomly selected out of 135 pigs ready to be transported. Blood samples were also collected during slaughter to evaluate plasma cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine, around 6:00 a.m. A journey duration of 11 h was associated with significantly higher plasma concentrations of stress hormones compared with shorter journeys. This increase was proportional to the journey duration, with the pigs travelling for 6.5 h displaying intermediate concentrations between those noticed after 3 h and 11 h journeys. The interaction between deck and journey distance was not significant on epinephrine, norepinephrine or cortisol levels collected at arrival. There was a significant effect of deck level on norepinephrine levels (p < 0.0001), a tendency to influence epinephrine levels (p = 0.073) but no effect on cortisol levels (p = 0.945). Overall, we observed that an 11 h-long journey seemed to impact negatively on pigs' HPA-SAM activity, likely requiring the animals to spend more time in the lairage facilities to recover.

Pilot Study of the Relationship between Deck Level and Journey Duration on Plasma Cortisol, Epinephrine and Norepinephrine Levels in Italian Heavy Pigs

Bozzo, Giancarlo
Writing – Original Draft Preparation
;
Padalino, Barbara
Supervision
;
Bonerba, Elisabetta
Methodology
;
Barrasso, Roberta
Writing – Review & Editing
;
Tufarelli, Vincenzo
Writing – Original Draft Preparation
;
Ceci, Edmondo
Formal Analysis
2020-01-01

Abstract

The aim of this pilot study was to evaluate the relationship between journey duration, deck level and activation patterns of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical axis (HPA) and sympathetic adrenal medullary system (SAM) in pigs. A total of 90 pigs were examined. The animals came from three different Italian farms associated with the same slaughterhouse located in Bari (Apulia region-Italy). A group of thirty animals was transported from Pordenone (11 h journey); a second group was transported from Terni (6.5 h journey); a third group was transported from Benevento (3 h journey). The animals were transported in the same vehicle, which complied with the structural characteristics indicated in the Council Regulation (EC) No. 1/2005. The truck was composed of a lorry and a trailer, each one divided into three decks. Only the animals transported in the trailer were tested for the study. Before transportation, blood samples were collected on each farm, at 6:00 a.m., from 30 pigs randomly selected out of 135 pigs ready to be transported. Blood samples were also collected during slaughter to evaluate plasma cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine, around 6:00 a.m. A journey duration of 11 h was associated with significantly higher plasma concentrations of stress hormones compared with shorter journeys. This increase was proportional to the journey duration, with the pigs travelling for 6.5 h displaying intermediate concentrations between those noticed after 3 h and 11 h journeys. The interaction between deck and journey distance was not significant on epinephrine, norepinephrine or cortisol levels collected at arrival. There was a significant effect of deck level on norepinephrine levels (p < 0.0001), a tendency to influence epinephrine levels (p = 0.073) but no effect on cortisol levels (p = 0.945). Overall, we observed that an 11 h-long journey seemed to impact negatively on pigs' HPA-SAM activity, likely requiring the animals to spend more time in the lairage facilities to recover.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11586/310922
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