The effect of water sprinkling market pigs transported during summer on pig behaviour, gastrointestinal tract temperature and trailer micro-climate.
There has been little research into the use of water cooling methods for pigs during transport to slaughter under conditions of high ambient temperature. The aim of this study was to examine the effects of water sprinkling pigs before departure from the farm and before unloading at the plant on behaviour during transport, unloading and lairage using live and remote observations, and on pig gastrointestinal tract temperature (GTT) and trailer micro-climate measured by data loggers. Above 23oC, the use of water sprinkling tended to decrease GTT upon arrival and significantly decreased drinking bouts during lairage. There were no detrimental effects of the water sprinkling on unloading behaviours (e.g. slips and falls) or on trailer micro-climate conditions in terms of temperature, humidity or ammonia. Water sprinkling to wet the skin of pigs can therefore be used to cool pigs during transport and lairage under high ambient temperatures.