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Design Criteria for Cleanability, Worker Safety and Welfare Characteristics of Pig Transport Trailers

Disease transmission associated with transportation of pigs has been a long-standing issue affecting biosecurity in pig production. In addition, stress responses and welfare are greatly influenced by the trailer compartment configuration. The overall goal of this study was to develop a trailer design criteria checklist to provide the industry with an assessment tool to improve the ease of cleaning and the welfare characteristics of pig transport trailers, thereby improving the biosecurity and welfare of animals during transport. This study included a comprehensive literature review and a survey among truckers, wash bay operators and other stakeholders to develop design criteria tailored to swine transport trailers. Those design criteria were used to develop a trailer inspection checklist, made available in an app, that was field-tested on 10 different trailers, and refined throughout all trailer inspections. The checklist was re-structured so that inspections are performed by compartments (i.e., front, middle, and back) and locations in the trailer (i.e., exterior and interior). A rating scale was developed for cleanability, safety and welfare characteristics. An overall score is determined at the end of the inspection to provide a rating on each specific aspect of the trailer (i.e., cleanability, welfare, and safety). It is anticipated that wide-spread application of the inspection checklist across multiple trailers of varying types and conditions will lead to establishment of a rating database that will allow differentiation of trailers according to ease of cleaning and welfare characteristics, and consequently guide the design process to address inherent problems with biosecurity and welfare for building future trailers.

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