Influence of rearing space on the behavior, performance, carcass and meat quality of pigs
The objective of the study was to assess the effects of rearing space on growing pig’s behavior, performance and meat quality. 120 pigs were reared to slaughter at 14 weeks in restricted or spacious conditions. The restricted conditions were defined as intensive production system (slatted floors and minimum recommended space allowances) and the spacious conditions incorporated extra space (one of the main factors in organic animal husbandry). Rearing space influenced pig behavior. Observations showed that spacious conditions reduced the time spent inactively and time spent in harmful social and aggressive behavior. Growth rates were also higher for pigs in spacious pens (p < 0.001) and this led to heavier carcass weights (n.s.). Pigs from spacious conditions also had thicker backs (n.s.). The enrichment of conditions had a small but significant effect on meat quality. Pork from pigs reared in restricted conditions had lower pH 24 post mortem (p < 0.001), was less tender, and had poorer water holding capacity than pork from pigs reared in spacious pens (n.s.).
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