Swine processing also known as pig processing starts by transporting them to the slaughterhouse. The method, by which they are restrained, and transported and the stress to which they are subjected become very important.
The final phase of pig production is the sale and disposal of the end product. The pig is extremely versatile in terms of the number of products that can be derived from pig meat.
The main categories are Fresh meat, Cured products, other processed products, Lard (pig fat), Pig skin, Bristles, Intestines, Offals, Blood, Slaughterhouse by-products, and Hoofs.
The stress of transporting pigs to the slaughterhouse can result in pigs dying in transit, dying in lairage at the slaughterhouse, or reducing meat quality in the carcass. The stresses which confront the pig are the handling at loading and unloading, the new surroundings, mixing with strange pigs, the physical discomfort of the journey, and most importantly under tropical conditions, heat stress.
Measures taken to minimize this stress include:
Ensure that the loading ramp is properly designed with solid walls and is at the correct height for the cart, truck, or trailer.
Handle the pigs quietly and gently at all times. Avoid the use of sticks and prodders.
Do not feed pigs for 12 hours before loading.
Avoid loading and traveling during the heat of the day.
Spray the pigs with cold water before loading and again in the truck.
Provide cover on the truck, good ventilation, and adequate bedding, and ensure the floors are not slippery. Make sure the sides of the truck are high enough to prevent the pigs from jumping out. If possible, subdivide animals into groups of 10 or fewer, and never mix pigs of different weights.
Do not stop in route to the slaughterhouse.
It is important to pen the pigs waiting to be slaughtered under shade and in small groups and sprayed with water, and feed only if there are long delays before slaughter.
Pigs should be handled and driven quietly and gently at all times and supervised to prevent fighting. As far as possible, avoid fear, they should be penned away from the sights and smells of the slaughtering process.
All the potential profits which have been achieved during the growing period can be nullified by deaths or damage at this stage.
3. Slaughter Procedure
For reasons of animal welfare, pigs should always be stunned before they are bled. Effective stunning ensures prompt and more complete bleeding and also minimizes Intensive muscle contraction. The main methods of stunning are:
Mechanical – A captive-bold pistol or other implement is used to stun the animal.
Electrical – A pair of tongs is used to apply an electrical charge to the pig’s head.
A current of 1.25 amps and 300 to 600 volts renders the pig unconscious within one second.
Gas – pigs can be led into a tunnel containing 70 to 80 percent carbon dioxide when they will lose consciousness within two seconds.
Immediately after stunning the animal should be suspended by its hind legs and the blood vessels of the neck completely severed to ensure thorough and complete bleeding. The blood should be collected in clean vessels.
5. Scalding and de-hairing
By immersing the carcass in water at 65 to 75◦C, the hair is loose and can be removed by scraping. Any excess hair can be burned off by a flame.
For small-scale farmers who are slaughtering on the farm, a drum of water over fire is adequate for scalding purposes.
Or alternatively where water is scarce, and if the skins are not used, de-hairing can be achieved by covering the carcass with a 5cm deep layer of straw or dry grass and burning it.
The skin can then be scraped to remove the carbonized surface and any remaining hair.
A long cut is made down the belly from the breast to the hams. To prevent the meat from being contaminated, the entire length of the gut should be removed intact. Other internal organs can be separated, and the gut emptied and cleaned away from the rest of the meat.
7. Meat Hygiene
The freshly killed carcass is an ideal breeding ground for bacteria and hygienic conditions are of paramount importance to preventing infections.
Ideally, carcasses should be chilled immediately after slaughter, and the meat should remain chilled until it is cooked.
Where a refrigerator is not available, carcasses should be hung in a cool room, protected from flies by gauze, and then sold and eaten as soon as possible.
At any slaughterhouse, all carcasses should be examined by a qualified meat inspector. He examined the carcass and offal critically for signs of parasite infections (e.g. measly pork, ‘milk-spot’ livers, damaged lungs, etc.).
Meat that does not pass inspection is condemned and should be burnt. The carcass slaughtered from pigs on the farm should also be examined critically so that the transmission of disease and parasites from pigs to humans can be avoided.
8. Pig Marketing
The main systems of marketing pigs are:
Private sales: This is the most common method in the tropics among small-scale producers. One, or a number of pigs are sold to local consumers, other producers, butchers, or middlemen.
The pigs are sold live and the price is generally subject to negotiation this system has the advantage of being the simplest, but in rural areas individuals who are not aware of current prices can be taken advantage of by speculators and dealers.
Due to this problem, marketing co-operatives have been formed in some rural areas to ensure adequate prices for producer members.
Public sales: This involves taking the pigs to a central marketplace, where they are sold by auction on a live basis to the highest bidder.
A direct sale to an abattoir or butcher: This is more applicable to a larger-scale producer. The big disadvantage of direct sales is the effect of the ‘pig cycle.
This is the notorious fluctuation in price which occurs in most countries. When pigs are in short supply, prices rise, but this in turn stimulates increased production among producers, and consequently, prices fall.
As it takes approximately a year for a producer to react to price changes, the cycle will occur every 12 to 18 months. This leads to a lack of stability with producers going in and out of pig production.
Contact sales: By entering into a contract with an abattoir to supply a certain number of pigs over a period at a set price, the producer is largely protected from the effects of the pig cycle. In turn, this allows him to plan his production output over a longer time.
In conclusion, the final phase of pig production is the sale and disposal of the end product. The pig is extremely versatile in terms of the number of products that can be derived from pig meat.
The stress of transporting pigs to the slaughterhouse can result in pigs dying in transit, dying in lairage at the slaughterhouse, or reducing meat quality in the carcass.
Measures taken to minimize stress transit include: Ensuring that the loading ramp is properly designed with solid walls and is at the correct height for the cart, truck, or trailer, the pigs must be handled quietly and gently at all times.
While inside the lairage, it is important to pen the pigs waiting to be slaughtered under shade and in small groups and sprayed with water, and feed only if there are long delays before slaughter.
Immediately after stunning the animal should be suspended by its hind legs, and the blood vessels of the neck completely severed to ensure thorough and complete bleeding.
By immersing the carcass in water at 65 to 75ºC, the hair is loose and can be removed by scraping. Any excess hair can be burnt off by a flame.
The main systems of marketing pigs are Private sales, Public sales, direct sales to an abattoir or butcher, and Contact sales.
Pig meat is marketed in the form of Fresh meat, Cured products, and other processed products- Included in this category are all the various types of sausages, pies, luncheon, meats, hamburgers, and mat pastes.
These tend to be produced from the lower value of the porker and beckoner carcasses, or mature sows and boars. Lard (pig fat), Pig skin, Bristles, Intestines, Offal, Blood, Slaughterhouse by-products, Hoofs.
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