On a pig farm there are 2 situations that put at risk the health of the animals, because they are the ones with the highest probabilities of the infectious agents taking advantage of them to enter our farms. These high risk 'activities' for pig production are the entrance of visits on the farm and the loading/unloading of animals with lorries.
If that were not enough, these are situations that happen on the farm every week.
We already know what we have to do with visits (see Changing rooms for everybody in this section), but today we will address the matter of the pig transportation trucks.
An animal transportation truck has a very high infectious load, because it transports lots of pigs from different farms every day, and what is more, they also go to abattoirs.
Besides, the driver, after a hard day's work, has to clean and disinfect the lorry.
Have you ever cleaned a lorry for the transportation of animals? Cleaning it well is quite arduous, and after a good cleaning and disinfection we have to leave enough time so that the lorry is perfectly dry. During the winter months this is not easy to guarantee.
Due to this, we must also consider that the lorry is dirty, and treat it as such. Although we may see it clean, pathogens capable of causing diseases on our farm may remain on the surface, so we have to avoid their entrance: they are our 'Trojan horse'.
Photo 1. We must avoid the lorry entering the farm.
For this not to happen we have to resort to LOADING BAYS ON THE OUTSIDE. In my opinion, a well designed loading bay on the outside should meet the following requirements:
1- The lorries never enter the inner enclosure.
2- The door allows the passing of animals.
3- In turn, it avoids the contact between the driver and the farmer.
4- We must be able to clean it from the inside.
5- The direction of the cleaning must always be from the inside to the outside (slope).
The design and the aesthetic matters are up to the customer, but probably it is the most cost-effective investment that one can make on a farm.
Looking after our animals' health is guaranteeing their welfare.
Photo 2. The loading bay must avoid that the animals retreat.
Photo 3. The gate avoids the contact between the driver and the farmer.