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National Pork Board Plans 'Swine Welfare Indexing System'
Dr. Paul Sundberg - National Pork Producers Council
World Pork Expo-Report 05 for June , 2002 (Episode 986) The National Pork Board is preparing to introduce a new 'swine welfare indexing system'. The indexing system is designed as a user friendly way to objectively measure and track indicators of animal well being on the farm and its development is being overseen by the pork board's animal welfare committee. Assistant Vice President Veterinary Issues Dr. Paul Sundberg says the committee is working with an international advisory group of experts in animal behavior, physiology, veterinary medicine, production housing, handling, stockmanship and training to develop an effective and usable index. Clip-Dr. Paul Sundberg-National Pork Board The index will give all producers a uniform producer developed tool to help them maintain their market availability, if selling to a market that asks for information about animal welfare. With multiple restaurant and retail companies forming their individual welfare advisory panels, we're faced with the possibility that a producer may need to abide by multiple, individual and company dictated animal welfare guidelines in order to have access to the markets and the packers that supply those markets. The index will be a way for producers to answer this need in a uniform producer developed and farm implementable way instead of having to meet multiple potentially different guidelines on the farm. Also even if producers are not in a market in which the packer asks for such information this tool, the index that we're building, may also help them to evaluate and track their operation's performance over time. It's possible that it might help them identify weaknesses in management, nutrition or health programs before they become production problems. Since the index is an assessment of the welfare of the animal, it's independent of the type of facility or the type of production system or the number of animals that are in that production system. It will be applicable to all production sizes and types including indoor, outdoor operations, and operations using stalls as gestation pens, pastures and other forms of housing. Dr. Sundberg says the first index will focus on sows in gestation housing but indexes for other phases such as in farrowing systems, in nurseries and in finisher barns are planned. He says the new system has been in the works for over a year and members of the animal welfare committee and the advisory group will meet later this month to finalize the contents of the index and prepare for its release to producers. At World Pork Expo in Des Moines, I'm Bruce Cochrane. *World Pork Expo reports are an exclusive presentation of Elite Swine Inc.
Keywords: animal welfarenutritionmarket
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