A total of forty Duroc-Landrace-Large White female pigs (90 ± 5 kg) were used to study the effects of different lairage times (0 h, 3h, 8 h, 24 h) on welfare, energy metabolism and meat quality. The results showed that lairage time of 3h led to a lower blood cortisol, a decreased drip loss and a delayed degradation of glycogen in muscles compared with pigs without rest, while lairage times of 8h and 24h resulted in a significant increase in pork toughness. It was concluded that three hours of lairage was appropriate to reduce pre-slaughter stress and obtain better meat quality for pigs transported for 4h in winter, under the most frequent commercial conditions in Beijing, China. No lairage, or excessively long lairage time, might compromise animal welfare and meat quality.
Copyright © 2012. Published by Elsevier Ltd.