Trucking is high stress for pigs, and Dr Luigi Faucitano, a meat scientist with the Sherbrooke Research Centre of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, said stress levels could be lessened by reducing the slope of the ramps.
“We compared the pot-belly trailer and the compact truck, which is a truck and a trailer with hydraulic features, on two decks with a top deck being operated hydraulically and we noted more death losses in the pot-belly trailer compared to the other one,” he said during the recent Banff Pork Seminar.
“We observed . . . that more losses were in the top deck (than) in the bottom deck because of the ramp.
“The pigs were more fatigued at loading so they couldn't recover from the stress of loading from negotiating the ramp and they eventually died during travel.
“The ramp inside the trailer within loading systems is something that should be avoided or corrected,” he said.
“Replacing ramps with hydraulic devices, with hydraulic decks is a solution.
“Otherwise, for truckers who do not want to replace the trailer with a new one, they just have to modify their pot-belly trailer with ramps, modifying the ramps in terms of slope, decreasing the slope, building less steep ramps.”