NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Swine Welfare
NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Swine Welfare
(306) 966-7151
WCVM, UofS, 52 Campus Dr., Saskatoon, SK

Validation of infrared technologies for identification of market hogs at risk of transport stress, death loss and PSE meat

Research Team:

  • Msc student: Samuel Ereke
  • Supervisor: Dr. Jennifer Brown
  • Project Members: Dr. Nigel Cook, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry; Mr. Tong Liu, Food Safety and Quality, Agriculture and Agri-food Canada; Dr. Bernardo Predicala, Prairie Swine Centre; Dr. Phyllis Shand, Dept. of Food and Bioproduct Sciences, University of Saskatchewan; and Dr. Cyril Roy, Prairie Swine Centre

Funding agency:

Project Timeline:

  • 2019-2021


Infrared imaging could be a valuable tool for producers to identify compromised animals and could be used by packing plants to identify diseased animals and to implement management practices to reduce the prevalence of pale, soft, exudative (PSE) pork. The cost of infrared technology has decreased significantly in recent years, it is non-invasive and could potentially be automated for real-time data collection.

Project Objectives:

  • Evaluation of a simple ‘consumer grade’ digital thermography (DT) camera for measuring stress in market weight pigs to determine whether: 
    • Infrared measures of animals can be predictive through evaluation of how measures on farm relate to measures at the abattoir after transport 
  • Determining if DT values collected at the abattoir are predictive of physiological measures of stress and meat quality characteristics.

Value of this research:

Infrared technology has potential for use by pork processors to quickly evaluate animals for stress and disease status, providing an opportunity for management interventions to improve animal welfare, food safety, and meat quality. Automation of this application would permit real-time use in abattoir lairage.

Links to results:

Results available in Samuel Ereke’s MSc Thesis.