Survey on broiler pre-slaughter mortality in a commercial abattoir of central Italy

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Claudia Grilli *
Roberta Stocchi
Anna Rita Loschi
Fabrizio Conti
Stefano Rea
(*) Corresponding Author:
Claudia Grilli |


The pre-slaughter mortality was investigated on broilers, in the Mediterranean climate condition, considering the most significant risk factors as the journey length, waiting time, season and the space allowance in cages. At first, the pre-slaughter mortality was studied considering the totality of birds and then by examining in detail three broiler categories: large, medium and small size. The average dead on arrival (DOA) recorded on the totality of birds throughout the year was 0.38% and the values obtained in winter, spring, summer and autumn were 0.52, 0.48, 0.31 and 0.22%, respectively. The mortality rate observed during the year was 0.52, 0.47 and 0.31% for large, medium and small broilers, respectively. In all three groups, the maximum values of mortality were obtained in winter, whereas the minimum ones were recorded in autumn, spring and summer for large, medium, and small size birds, respectively. The increase of journey length could cause a higher mortality rate whereas the increase of the waiting time in the facilities at controlled environmental conditions did not seem to be a risk factor, but rather a mean to reduce the number of dead animals (all P < 0.05). It is concluded that the resistance to the hostile weather conditions, long journeys and extended waiting times was strongly related with the body weight of broilers; therefore, the planning of the slaughtering activity should consider this aspect, in order to avoid animal suffering and the economic loss.

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