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Licentiate thesis, 2012

Animal transport and welfare with special emphasis on transport time and vibration including logistics chain and abattoir operations

Aradom, Samuel


During transport animals are exposed to a number of stressors such as, separation from familiar and mixing with unfamiliar groups, vibration and transport time. Logistics chain of animals comprises collecting from farms, transport, unloading and slaughter chain operations. The current licentiate thesis deals with transport of pigs and cattle from farms to abattoirs including all logistics chain. Two trucks with natural ventilation and air suspension systems were used for field experiments. Stress hormones such as cortisol, glucose, lactate and creatine kinease, ethological parameters, carcass pH value, temperature and relative humidity were measured to study effect of transport on pigs welfare. Vibration levels on chassi, floor and cattle were studied and the influence of speeds, road types and cattle standing orientations on vibration levels were investigated. Field measurements were also conducted to describe the potential effect of operations planning and route optimization on welfare and meat quality. Highest pH24 value was (5.990.29) at 12 h summer transport time. Concentrations of cortisol was inversely proportional (P<0.001) to transport time, lactate and creatine kinase (P<0.002) positively correlated where as glucose level (P<0.01) was highest at 8 h transport time. Lying, sitting and rooting correlated with transport time (P<0.009). On cattle, highest vibration was 2.27±0.33 m s-2 during transport on gravel road at 70 km h-1. Vibrations in horizontal and lateral directions were lower on animals positioned perpendicular to driving direction. Uneven distributions of arrivals affected handling at the delivery gate. Unloading, including waiting and preparation, varied between 7 and 98, with an average of 23.7 minutes. Queues at washing occurred at 29% of deliveries, with waiting of up to 56 minutes. Potential savings for individual routes was up to 23%, consequently reducing negative impact on animal welfare, meat quality and environment. Based on climatic conditions, behaviours, stress hormones, and final carcases pH values, an increase from 4 to 8 h had higher effect than from 8 to 12 h transport time. To reduce vibration levels animal transporters more have to adapt vehicle's speed to road and animal conditions. Time and distance of transport activity can be reduced through effective planning and route optimisation which also improves animals' welfare and environmental impact.


transport time; animal welfare; animal behaviour; creatine kinease; vibration; route optimisation

Published in

Report / Department of Energy and Tecnology, SLU
2012, number: 042
ISBN: 978-91-576-9078-4
Publisher: Dept. of Energy and Technology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Authors' information

Aradom, Samuel (Aradom, Samuel)
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Energy and Technology

UKÄ Subject classification

Animal and Dairy Science

URI (permanent link to this page)