Animal Industry Report

Extension Number

ASL R2911



Summary and Implications

The objective of this study was to determine the relationship between handling intensity and surface temperature of the market weight pig at the time of loading on commercial farms. One hundred and fifty-five loads of market weight pigs were used. Handling intensity (HI) score ranged from 1 to 5 where 1 was very good handling and 5 was very poor handling. Researchers took pig movement, use of handling tools, and vocalizations, slips and falls, and stress signs into consideration when scoring. All data is presented descriptively. A total of 77.4 % scored ≤ 3 for HI, indicating a positive animal-human interaction at the time of loading. A total of 20.0 % scored a HI of 4 and 2.6 % of loads being scored a HI of 5 (4 loads/155 total loads scoring unacceptable). When moving from HI 1 (very good handling) to HI 5 (very poor handling) the surface temperature increased 2.7 °C. However, the relationship was very weak (R2 < 0.01). In conclusion, over 76 % of observed loading events were classified as normal handling or better, indicating a positive animal-human interaction. However, the relationship between HI score used in this study and the recorded surface temperature of pigs was very weak. Therefore, collecting pig surface temperature does not seem to be a useful assessment tool when using this specific HI scoring system.

Copyright Holder

Iowa State University