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Product quality attributes associated with outdoor pig production

Lookup NU author(s): Emerita Professor Sandra Edwards


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Outdoor pig production offers animals increased environmental diversity and behavioural freedom but imposes challenges for breed adaptation, management control, biosecurity, and environmental protection. Each of these issues has potential implications for the real and perceived quality of the product. In most conventional Northern European production systems, only adult and suckling animals are at pasture. However, in traditional Mediterranean systems and in organic production systems, meat animals may be maintained outdoors throughout their lives. Major influences on organoleptic quality of product derive from the choice of breeds most appropriate to outdoor systems, modifications to growth rate, and the increased proportion of forage in the diet. Indirect consequences may also result from both positive and negative influences on physiological stress responses in the pre-slaughter period. Whilst some aspects of animal health and hygiene may be improved in more extensive conditions, exposure to parasites and to contact with wildlife may increase zoonotic infection risk. Perceptual attributes of product quality may be either positively or negatively influenced, depending on the ethical attitudes of consumers and the quality of management and husbandry in outdoor pig units which are visible to the public. The extent to which real and perceived differences in product quality are reflected in changed economic value is more a function of marketing than production system. © 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Edwards SA

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Livestock Production Science

Year: 2005

Volume: 94

Issue: 1-2

Pages: 5-14

ISSN (print): 0301-6226

ISSN (electronic):

Publisher: Elsevier BV


DOI: 10.1016/j.livprodsci.2004.11.028


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