There is considerable concern about the effects of transport and associated handling on the welfare of pigs. In the EU, regulations to protect animals during transport are laid down in Council Regulation 1/2005. Due to the small profit margins in the pig industry, however, improving pig welfare must go hand in hand with economic benefits to get a sustainable solution. This poses a challenge to all parties involved in the logistic chain, many of whom are SMEs. TRANSUS proposes a revolutionary new concept for the groupwise transport of pigs, i.e. to use the concept of standardized container transport, taking into account animal welfare and hygiene requirements. An easy-to-handle, stackable, transport container enables cost-effective transport of slaughter pigs (circa 10 pigs/container) from farm to slaughterhouse, because (a) (un)loading of individual pigs can be done without the (expensive) lorry being present (only (un)loading of containers is necessary and can be done by a standard forklift truck), (b) once in the container, the pigs do not need to be handled individually until they are ready for further processing at the slaughterhouse (stress reduction in the pigs), (c) cleaning of empty containers can be done offline, and (d) the containers can be developed in a modular way, allowing optimised designs for expected group sizes, logistic handling at the farm and at the slaughterhouse, and cleaning/disinfection. Although in essence the transport container is suitable for SMEs to develop and manufacture, the total mix of requirements and logistic procedures in the pig meat industry, necessitates application research. The R&D activities have been organised in a number of work packages and will be carried out in close collaboration between SME and RTD participants, with activities as system specifications, pig welfare research, development of the transport container, trials and assessments, and elaboration on ways of exploitation.
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Funding SchemeBSG-SME - Research for SMEs