Evaluating the impact of housing on pork quality and slaughter day stress

Project Overview

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2022: $13,560.00
Projected End Date: 07/31/2023
Grant Recipient: Pennsylvania State University
Region: Northeast
State: Pennsylvania
Graduate Student:
Faculty Advisor:
Dr. Elizabeth Hines
The Pennsylvania State University


  • Animals: swine
  • Animal Products: meat


  • Animal Production: free-range, housing, meat product quality/safety, rangeland/pasture management
  • Education and Training: decision support system, extension

    Proposal abstract:

    Pasture-based management systems are increasing in popularity due to an increase in consumer demand for more enriched environments and higher prices that can be obtained by producers targeting niche markets; however, research is limited to guide producers. This study will be conducted to compare the impact of housing on pork quality and carcass characteristics of pigs as well as comparing slaughter day stress responses. Slaughter day stress responses will be evaluated through cortisol and lactate levels which will be obtained by collecting blood before transport and at exsanguination. Pork quality and carcass characteristics will be evaluated through bi-weekly weight measurements, color and marbling scores, backfat (BF) measurements, loin eye area (LEA) measurements, and pH at 0,6,12, and 24 hours post-mortem. The results from this study will be used to translate current available welfare and meat quality information to pasture-based operations and grow the limited pool of current research on pasture reared swine

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. Compare impact of housing on slaughter day stress responses.
    2. Compare impact of housing on pork quality and carcass characteristics.
    3. Develop a standardized model for pasture pork research for addressing key challenges in production.
    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.