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Regulation (EC) No. 1099/2009 on the protection of animals at the time of killing establishes an obligation to spare animals any avoidable suffering or stress prior to their slaughter. Although it has been pointed out that stressors also include noise, which can cause suffering and affect the quality of the meat, current legislation does not set a limit for environmental noise in slaughterhouses. This study was conducted in three slaughterhouses in central Italy to assess the environmental acoustic level using a smartphone app. The selected, medium-sized slaughterhouses for pigs and cattle were subjected to measurements using a sound-level meter (Noise Meter for iOS) during working hours at the unloading area and lairage, along the chute to the restraining pen, at the time of stunning and at the slaughter hall. For the bovine lines the average values expressed in dB ranged from 76.33 (SD 2.08) to 93.00 (SD 2.14) for abattoir 1, from 75.00 (SD 1.87) to 92.33 (SD 4.89) for abattoir 2 and from 75.67 (SD 7.09) to 88.83 (SD 4.79) for abattoir 3. For the pig lines the average values expressed in dB ranged from 77.50 (SD 3.11) to 100.33 (SD 1.53) for abattoir 1, from 83.00 (SD 2.00) to 99.75 (SD 2.63) for abattoir 2 and from 71.20 (SD 6.49) to 99.50 (SD 1.31) for abattoir 3. Data show that the pig slaughter line was always noisier than the cattle line and the slaughter hall always showed the highest values (i.e. 100 dB), when compared to the unloading area (i.e. 79 dB).
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