Transport Quality Assurance (TQA) is a program developed by the National Pork Board that defines best practices for handling, moving and transporting pigs and the potential impacts those actions can have on pig well-being and/or pork quality. This animal handling and transportation program for producers, farm employees and transporters concentrates on good production practices (GPPs). These practice should be implemented at all times when handling or moving swine. Recently updated, this program compliments the Pork Quality Assurance (PQA) Plus program which also is available to the pork industry in an online format.
The pork industry is focused on continuous improvement and has designed numerous educational courses that benefit the animal and people working in the industry. Originally launched in 2002, the TQA program is based on industry research that shows using good animal handling practices benefit the pig, the handler and the industry. For the pig, good animal handling can result in the reduction or elimination of stressful experiences and results in better wellbeing. For the handler, good animal handling leads to easier pig movement and coincides with better wellbeing and less frustration for the animal handler. Other benefits of a less stressful experience include a decrease in transport losses, reduced time to load and unload pigs, reduced weight loss and better meat quality. Implementing and following good animal handling protocols will help promote and protect pig well-being and pork quality.
New with the release of Version 5 of the TQA program is the opportunity for participants to recertify online for the educational portion of TQA. If participants have a current TQA certification and valid email address, they may request access to the online system by contacting their TQA advisor. It is important to note that once an individual’s TQA certification has expired they are no longer eligible for renewal via the online system and will be required to complete a face-to-face session with an advisor.
People seeking TQA certification for the first time or a face-to-face renewal session can contact a member of the Pork Team with Michigan State University Extension. Face-to-Face sessions that have been scheduled and can be found listed on the MSU Extension Pork page.