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Berl Munch Tierarztl Wochenschr. 2006 Sep-Oct;119(9-10):386-90.

Variation in the mortality rate of turkeys during transport to the slaughterhouse with travel distance and month.

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  • 1Department of Veterinary Public Health and Toxicology, University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences Brno, Czech Republic.


Failure to comply with animal welfare requirements during the transport of turkeys to the slaughterhouse increases stress in animals, which is manifested by increased mortality rate during transport. The numbers of turkeys that died during transport or soon after arrival may serve as an important parameter to indicate the level of animal welfare during transport of turkeys. The number of turkeys that died during transport to slaughterhouses in the Czech Republic in the period from 1997 to 2004 was investigated. The mortality rate found was 0.28% +/- 0.06% but varied with travel distance. The lowest mortality rate was found in case of travel distance below 50 km (0.18% +/- 0.08%) while long travel distances resulted in considerable increase in the mortality rates of turkeys (between 0.28% +/- 0.07 and 0.37% +/- 0.10%). The mortality rate of transported turkeys was also affected by the particular month of the year. Thus, the highest overall mortality rate occurred at long travel distances during winter months, i.e. in December (0.34% +/- 0.18%), January (0.32% +/- 0.06%), and February (0.36% +/- 0.07%). The comparison of individual years has shown a long-term trend towards a decrease in turkeys' mortality during transportation to slaughterhouses from 0.32% in 1998 to 0.20% in 2004. The decrease was statistically significant (Spearman's rank correlation coefficient r = -0.86, p < 0.01). This trend can be evaluated as positive.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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