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Computer Based AI Offers Potential to Help Improve Swine Welfare
Dr. Seokbum Ko - University of Saskatchewan

Farmscape for August 15, 2023

Computer based artificial intelligence is being harnessed to help assess and improve swine welfare.
As part of research being conducted through the office of the NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Swine Welfare scientists with the University of Saskatchewan's Western College of Veterinary Medicine and Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering are developing an automated swine welfare assessment system using computer based artificial intelligence to evaluate carcasses at the abattoir.
Dr. Seokbum Ko, a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, says the system consists of a digital security camera and an artificial intelligence processor.

Quote-Dr. Seokbum Ko-University of Saskatchewan:
Initial evidence suggests that monitoring carcasses for animal welfare lesions could offer a cost-effective method for animal welfare assessments that could provide diagnostic information about the welfare of pigs on farm and during preslaughter handling.
The carcasses are evaluated for animal-based indicators of welfare such as injuries, human handling interactions, tail biting etcetera.
The monitoring of these indicators is a valuable tool to provide information that can compliment on farm animal care programs such as the pig care animal care assessment program for the Canada Pork Canadian Pork Excellence quality assurance scheme.
The cost-effective automated assessment of animal welfare indicators on pig carcasses can increase animal care oversight and provide data on pigs for producers to make informed decisions.
Additionally, this data can be used by the Canadian pork industry to report on progress in animal care initiatives.
Once development is complete, this technology could be installed in abattoirs with reports generated to provide information to individual farmers shipping pigs to that abattoir but also for the abattoir to monitor its own practices.
Such information on animal welfare could also be of value to use nationally for monitoring and reporting on swine industry animal care initiatives.

Dr. Ko says the objective is to have a firm prototype ready by the end of next year.
For more visit Farmscape.Ca.
Bruce Cochrane.

       *Farmscape is produced on behalf of North America’s pork producers

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