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Head current during and blood splashes after electrical stunning in relation to characteristics of the pig's body

Lammens, V., Water, G. van de, Coenegrachts, J., Driessen, B., Peeters, E., Geers, R.
Meat science 2006 v.72 no.1 pp. 140-145
swine breeds, crossbreds, halothane, slaughter weight, slaughter, electrical treatment, electricity, blood, pig carcasses, pork, meat quality, carcass quality, lean meat, dressing percentage, backfat, rigor mortis, pH, color, water holding capacity
In order to evaluate electrical stunning in relation to the incidence of blood splashes, meat quality and carcass quality parameters, 2035 pigs, heterozygous for the halothane gene, were observed during slaughter at a commercial slaughterhouse. The head current during electrical stunning is significantly higher (P < 0.01) in gilts with a lower live weight (P < 0.0001) or cold carcass weight (P < 0.0001) and a higher lean meat percentage (P < 0.0001). Also the incidence of blood splashes in the ham is significantly higher in gilts (P < 0.0001) with a higher lean meat percentage (P = 0.0028; odds ratio = 1.11), a lower live weight (P = 0.003; odds ratio = 0.98) and a lower type number (P = 0.0074; odds ratio = 0.64). For barrows, no significant parameters were revealed. These results suggest that the variability in incidence of blood splashes can be explained by the variability of current density depending both on sex and body characteristics. Thus, electrical stunning can be improved by providing an energy level, based on the body characteristics of the pig.