Farmscape for August 7, 2019
Canadian scientists are conducting research aimed at improving the comfort of weaned pigs during transport.
To help address challenges when transporting weaned pigs and provide information to support discussions related to regulatory changes scientists with the Prairie Swine Center, the Western College of Veterinary Medicine and the University of Guelph are studying the movement of weaned pigs from western to eastern Canada.
Dr. Yolande Seddon, an assistant professor in swine behavior and welfare with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine and NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Swine Welfare, says, as a result of factors such as entering a new environment, changes in temperature, road conditions and time of travel, recently weaned pigs faced added stresses.
Clip-Yolande Seddon-Western College of Veterinary Medicine:
Initially these trials are specifically trying to look at transportation of weaned pigs for short durations and long durations that would go up to the previous maximum allowable transport times and then to see how the pigs cope with this.
So what are the physiological and behavioral measures of stress, measures of dehydration, measures of fatigue, seeing how they behave on the truck, are they comfortable resting, is there evidence that they are too hot or trying to stabilize themselves or showing discomfort and then, when they arrive at the receiving barn, how quickly do they transition onto food and what is the mortality.
Really this initial research is trying to get data from commercial practices and just seeing how the animals are responding to the existing practices and it would be able to identify if there was a cause for concern or what the risk factors are for mortality.
Dr. Seddon says the work will identify priority areas for improving the transport of weaned pigs and provide information to support regulatory changes.
She says the data analysis should be completed by fall.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.
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