Effect of space allowance during transport and fasting or non-fasting during lairage on welfare indicators in Merino lambs

Keywords: sheep, blood, density, transportation, management pre-slaughter, feed-deprivation


A total of 72 male lambs of Merina breed were sampled in a 3×2 factorial design, testing three different space allowances treatment (SA) during transport [0.16 m2/animal (SAL; n=24); 0.20 m2/animal (SAM; n=24) and 0.30 m2/animal (SAH; n=24)] and two lairage treatments (TL) during 18 h previous slaughter [fasting (FAST; n=36) vs feeding (FEED; n=36)] on welfare physiological indicators. After transport, glucose and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) were highest in SAM group and lowest in SAH one (p<0.05). SAL showed intermediate values for both parameters. SA did not affect the rest of the blood parameters studied. TL-FAST treatment decreased glucose values (p<0.001) while increased LDH (p<0.001). Fasting caused an increase (p<0.05) of Red Blood Cell Count values in SAM group. Feed deprivation did not affect cortisol or adrenaline values. Noradrenaline value was higher (p<0.001) in TL-FAST groups than in TL-FEED. In conclusion, under the conditions of this study, a range of space allowance during transport between 0.16 and 0.30 m2/lamb could be recommended without showing major changes on welfare physiological indicators; and feeding could be more appropriate than fasting during lairage.


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How to Cite
CozarA., RodriguezA. I., GarijoP., CalvoL., & VergaraH. (2016). Effect of space allowance during transport and fasting or non-fasting during lairage on welfare indicators in Merino lambs. Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research, 14(1), e0501. https://doi.org/10.5424/sjar/2016141-8313
Animal health and welfare