Effect of supplementation with MgCO3 and L-tryptophan on the welfare and on the carcass and meat quality of two halothane pig genotypes (NN and nn)

Sixty-one animals with different Halothane genes (homozygous halothane positive, n=34; and homozygous halothane negative, n=27) were fed with three diets (controlgroup, with no supplement; magnesium (Mg) group with 1.28g MgCO3/kg and tryptophan (Trp) group with 5g L-Trp/kg) during the last 5 days before slaughter. Animals were submitted to minimal stress ante mortem conditions. Pig behaviour was recorded at the experimental farm, raceway to the CO2 stunning system and during the stunning period. Corneal reflexes were recorded after stunning as well. There were no differences in feed intake among diets (p>0.05) during the 5 days of treatment. The halothane positive (nn) group had lower intake than the halothane negative (NN) group (p<0.01). The behaviour of the pigs in the raceway did not differ (p>0.05) among treatments or halothane genotype. A significant (p<0.001) interaction diet*halothane was found in the time to appear the first retreat attempt during the exposure to the CO2 system. In the nn group, the time of performing the first retreat attempt was later in the Mg (p<0.05) than the Control group. Moreover, in the Mg group, the nn had a later (p<0.05) first retreat attempt than the NN. Thus, Mg supplementation could have a positive effect on welfare of nn pigs. The nn had a lower proportion of animals that showed corneal reflexes after stunning than NN, indicating a higher effectiveness of the stunning method in nn pigs. Neither Mg nor Trp affected carcass quality and meat quality parameters, although significant differences were found between genotypes ​
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