Acta Vet. Brno 2007, 76: 109-116

Comparison of Mortality Rates in Different Categories of Pigs and Cattle during Transport for Slaughter

M. Malena1, E. Voslářová2, A. Kozák3, P. Bělobrádek2, I. Bedáňová1, L. Steinhauser1, V. Večerek2

1State Veterinary Administration, Czech Republic
2Department of Veterinary Public Health and Toxicology, Faculty of Veterinary Hygiene and Ecology, University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences in Brno, Czech Republic
3Regional Veterinary Administration of the Capital Prague, Czech Republic

Received June 4, 2007
Accepted October 11, 2007

The death of animals during transport for slaughter is a major factor indicating the level of welfare in transported animals. However, research data that report the level of animal welfare as reflected in transport-related mortality rates of individual animal species and categories are missing. The present study focused on losses of pigs and cattle in the period from 1997 to 2006. Transport-related mortality rates were recorded by species and categories of animals and also for the following travel distances: up to 50 km, 51-100 km, 101-200 km, 201-300 km, and over 300 km. Rates differed according to species and category. The highest mortality rates were found in young sows, sows, and boars (0.2562%) followed by fattened pigs (0.1075%), excluded dairy cows (0.0396%), calves (0.0269%), and fattened cattle (0.0069%). Significant differences were found among mortality rates (p < 0.05). The lowest mortality rates occurred with shorter travel distances (< 50 km and 51-100 km) when compared to long travel distances (101-200 km, 201-300 km and > 300 km), with a significant difference (p < 0.05) between short and long travel distances being found in fattened pigs, fattened cattle and dairy cows. Mortality rates in animals during transport for slaughter show young sows, sows, and boars to be the most susceptible to transport-related stress, followed by fattened pigs, dairy cows, and calves, whereas the highest resistance was observed in fattened cattle.