Optimization of transport of sows to slaughter – improving animal welfare and carcass value

Project: Research

Project Details


SOTRANS gains knowledge to formulate operational guidelines for pick-up and transport of cull sows – ensuring that challenges to animal welfare and carcass quality are minimized. Cull sows are more vulnerable to transport stress than market weight pigs, but despite high culling rates, the area of sow transport has not been subject to research or development for years. SOTRANS involves two series of studies, combining field trials and intervention designs to ensure study relevance and high scientific quality. The studies involve all seasons to include risk factors from high temperatures. Among the factors studied are: group size, mixing of sows, transport duration, pick-up facilities, journey breaks and water provision. The studies involve cull sows, selected by farmers, and the overall setup involves clinical examination on-farm before pick-up, commercial transport and re-examination upon arrival at slaughter. Data on behavior, climate (temperature, relative humidity, CO2) and handling are collected from farm to slaughter, and carcass quality (bruises, scratches, pH, drip loss) will be assessed post mortem. Based on the studies, SOTRANS provides new knowledge formulated into operational guidelines for relevant stakeholders such as hauliers, drivers, farmers and authorities – allowing future transport of sows to slaughter under conditions that are not challenging their welfare or carcass quality, thereby facilitating sustainable use of resources and consumer acceptance.
The project is financed by GUDP and GSST.
Effective start/end date01/02/201831/12/2021


  • Animal transport
  • Sow
  • Pig
  • Welfare
  • Slaughter


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