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TRANSPORTATION OF PIGS

THE country has an enormous potential in pig production although we are still struggling in exploiting this sector fully. Pig farming as we know can contribute to the nation’s gross domestic products of this nation. 

At the moment, not much is being done in terms of export apart of what we see being transported to Kasumbalesa on the Zambia and Congo DR border by some farmers to gain something out of their efforts. 

In years gone the governments did their best trying to bring on board small farmers.  A few did pick it up and that time Zambia Pork Products (ZAMPORK) was even established. 

It was able to process whatever was available at that time. But as time went by it stopped operating hence the few farmers had nowhere to take their pigs. 

This of course made some pig farms start their own processing that is why as of today well stocked pig farms are able to produce pork sausages, bacon and indeed other pork products. 

However, for those who are unable to put up such processing facilities they have to transport them somewhere to sale. Hence, today we have to look at the transportation of pigs to any destination. 

Although pig production has many challenges, transportation equally has its own hurdles. Therefore, let us look at how they should be transported from one point to the other whether for rearing or for sale. We can say exporting them from your farm.

In most cases pigs have to be transported using a vehicle to the various destinations be it to towns or cities or to any farm with meat processing facilities or slaughtering houses. 

In an area where pig farmers have formed groups because they are in the same business they can cut transportation costs but putting resources together when organised. 

We know that pig temperature regulation in the body is not so good, hence, transportation should look into the required facilities in their transportation. 

Where possible the vehicle to be used should have a roof and the floor should not be slippery. Make transportation as comfortable as possible by providing a good amount of bedding on the floor and this can be in the form of grass. 

The vehicle carrying them should have sides that are high enough not to allow pigs to jump out when in transit. 

Transportation should equally be comfortable to the animals, they should be well packed if they are going for slaughter.

On loading, the loading bay must have a sloping side for the pigs to walk up comfortably. On the high side of the slope, the transport vehicle should be on the same level with the top of the bay. 

The loading bay should have strong walls and a firm but not slippery floor to give a good grip to the feet of the pigs. The pigs to be transported should be handled gently, avoid using sticks to make the pigs move and do not force the pigs into the vehicle by lifting. 

As stated, be gentle, rough handling pigs may cause stress and may cause death on the way depending on the distance where they are being taken. Sometimes they may die on arrival. 

Transporting of pigs should not be moved in the heat of the day this may cause the pigs to die due to heat stress. Transportation should always be done during the early hours of the morning or in the cool of the afternoon.

For pigs to be moved in the morning they should not be fed the evening before loading. But when it comes to moving them for a long distance, they should be fed normally and should be provided with feed and water on the way. 

When transporting pigs try not to stop unnecessarily on the way to the destination assigned until the animals are delivered. Unnecessary stops increase the discomfort on the pigs. 

During transportation spray some cold water every now and again and also before loading. In addition to this try by all means not to mix different sizes of animals this is to avoid unnecessary fights and injuries that could result from such encounters. If possible, try to load animals from the same pen to avoid fights.

When pigs arrive at their destination and once unloaded, they should be given plenty of water to drink and a good feed to help them recover from transportation shock. 

Under transportation pigs can equally be affected by different uncomfortable situations. This can make the pigs lose weight and have a reduced resistance to diseases. 

What should be noted also for pigs going for slaughter, if they have gone through an uncomfortable situation before slaughter, their meat does not store properly and goes bad quickly. No good meat comes from such. 

This should be taken care of especially for those taking these animals to be sold as CDW (Cold Dressed Weight) the carcass can be downgraded, hence, losing valuable cash. Transportation is important in pig production. 

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