Pork meat quality and animal's stress

Several studies have shown a correlation between the quality of the meat (which is calculated by its pH) and the level of stress experienced by the animal before slaughter.
In fact, meat that are below a pH of 5.6 are called PSE (Pale, soft and exudative) and above a pH of 5.8 are called DFD (Dark, firm and dry). PSE and DFD meats are often used in the food industry as a low quality product and almost never presented to the consumer in its raw form.

These poor meat qualities are obvious responses to stress, short or long-term. When the animal perceives stress, the body goes into a state of alert. A rapid mobilization of energy is necessary to ensure the natural response to stress: fight or run. Consumption of glycogen as an energy source will produce a significant amount of lactic acid. If slaughter occurs shortly after the stress, the lactic acid will not be eliminated, resulting in low pH meat called PSE. Similarly, a too high density of pigs per square meters in farms or during transport can increase long-term stress and deteriorate the general quality of the meat.
The question of how to reduce pre-mortem animal stress and thus guarantee optimal meat quality is well identified and often well respected. Breeders, slaughterhouses and industrials have understood and assimilated the needs of animals before slaughter and throughout their lives in order to keep stress at low levels. 

Alternatives are emerging to make life easier for the animals, and there is a growing awareness of the proximity between humans and animals. Indeed, this contact must be regular in order to accustom the animals to the human presence.

The question is therefore no longer to adapt the animal to its environment but also to develop the animal's robustness towards its environment.

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