Coherence of animal health, welfare and carcass quality in pork production chains
Aim of the study was to measure the potential impact of animal health and welfare on the carcass quality. 99 pigs under equal housing and feeding conditions were involved in the study. Effects of the immune system on carcass composition, meat quality and performance data of slaughter pigs became measureable by quantification of acute phase proteins (APP), haptoglobin (Hp) and pig major acute phase protein (Pig-MAP). The results were not significantly affected by gender or breed. The calculated correlations between chosen animal health indicators and carcass quality parameters prove an influence of health and welfare on performance, carcass composition and meat quality traits. The acute phase proteins could also be valuable as a predictive indicator for risk assessment in meat inspection, as increased Hp concentrations in slaughter blood indicate a 16 times higher risk for organ abnormalities and Pig-MAP concentrations above 0.7 mg/ml a 10 times higher risk.