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Research article2024Peer reviewedOpen access

Training of transport drivers improves their handling of pigs during loading for transport to slaughter

Wilhelmsson, S.; Hemsworth, P. H.; Andersson, M.; Yngvesson, J.; Hemsworth, L.; Hultgren, J.


Pig transport drivers' ( TD s') handling actions are of great importance as these drivers handle a large number of finishing pigs during stressful situations. Poor handling techniques can have negative consequences for working conditions, pig welfare and meat quality. We studied the effects of a training intervention on Swedish TDs' attitudes towards pigs and their handling actions during loading for transport to slaughter. Twenty TDs working with commercial pig transportation in Sweden were recruited and completed an attitude questionnaire. Ten of them were observed during one loading of pigs before training, and one or two loadings after training (49-265 pigs per loading), and eight of them completed the attitude questionnaire again 50-160 days after training. The cognitive -behavioural training program ProHand Pigs (R) was adapted and delivered to the ten TDs during a group session, followed by individual meetings. TDs' handling actions were video recorded and summarised as binary variables per 5-s interval. Factor analysis, principal component analysis and paired t -test were conducted to investigate the effects of the training intervention on TDs' attitudes, and mixed -effects logistic models were used to examine effects on negative and positive handling actions. Training tended to decrease TDs' beliefs that it is important to move pigs quickly ( P = 0.095). Training decreased the odds of a 'moderately to strongly negative' action by 55% ( P = 0.0013) and increased the odds of a 'positive' action by 97% ( P < 0.0001). This study provides valuable insights into the possibilities to improve TDs' handling actions, and implications for pig welfare during slaughter transport. The study supports previous findings that the attitudes and behaviour of handlers can be improved by cognitive -behavioural training. While our previous research has shown reciprocal relationships between TDs' actions and pig behaviour, further research on TDs' attitudes towards handling that underlie the nature of their behaviour when handling pigs is necessary to fine-tune the cognitive-behavioural training program applied in the present study. (c) 2024 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier B.V. on behalf of The Animal Consortium. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (


Attitude; Interaction; Sus scrofa; Training intervention; Truck driver

Published in

2024, Volume: 18, number: 4, article number: 101115
Publisher: ELSEVIER