A Danish research institute has developed a method
that guarantees pig traceability without the need to tattoo.
This new method can save pig producers much effort in the future and remove
the discomfort for pigs, according to the Danish Meat Association.
Before pigs are sent to slaughter, they normally
receive a stamp with a number in order that they can be traced back for product
A so-called 'group method' of tracing has
been developed by the Danes. It involves the dispatch of pigs to the
slaughterhouse in groups.
Upon arrival at the slaughterhouse, the truck driver enters the freight
delivery details into a computer terminal. The origin of the group is
immediately noted by an electronic data system. Only the door of one pen is
opened at a time where the animals are then kept in groups of 15.
The pigs are sent to slaughter in groups of 7 or 8. This
procedure is electronically monitored. A scanner checks each belt to ensure that
it is empty before dispatching the next group of pigs to slaughter. Finally,
chips in the chains where the animals are hung, ensure traceability of the
Danish Crown has pioneered the use of such a system in its slaughterhouse
in Esbjerg. According to Carsten Damgaard of the Danish Meat Research
Institute, Danish Crown employees have been working with the system for two
years and it still requires a little 'fine tuning'.
The background to this development is that most pig
producers now send 'full' deliveries to the slaughterhouse and not in separate
groups. At Danish Crown, around 50% of deliveries are 'full' deliveries.
Damgaard explained that slaughterhouse workers can
monitor on a screen in which pen the animals from one particular producer are
kept. â€œIt is basically a modern warehousing system. In the future, pig
transporters can be informed using such a system, which slaughter facilities
have the most capacity at delivery timeâ€.
In this test phase, tattooed pigs have been used. As soon as veterinary
authorities approve the system, the tattoo will no longer be used.
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