Consumer Demand and Economics Shaping Change in Animal Welfare

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Farmscape for January 31, 2019

Full Interview 8:40 Listen

The NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Swine Welfare says changing public attitudes and economics will help set the direction of animal welfare heading toward 2030.
“Raising the Bar: Swine Production and Welfare in 2030” will be discussed next week in Winnipeg as part of the 2019 Manitoba Swine Seminar.
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 attitudes toward the well being of animals raised for food have been changing globally since 1960’s and the momentum appears to be building.

Clip-Dr. Yolande Seddon-Prairie Swine Centre:
Factors that will shape this include the fact that we’ll still probably at this stage be trying to increase the amount of meat protein that is produced. As per usual the industry will be no doubt striving for greater economic efficiency. We also need to be as efficient as possible from an environmental footprint perspective of how farming is shaping the world. As we strive to be more efficient that in itself does have implications for the animals welfare in terms of the breeding values we’re selecting for them and asking for more productivity. But there will also be potentially on the horizon at this stage more demand to have systems change. We already have Canada going to group housing for gestating sows but there are other areas of the system that, in time, will likely come under pressure to be changed to a system that would better accommodate the behavioral requirements of the animals. That in itself brings major challenges so, when we are putting the fact that you have to strive for greater efficiency with some potential major management changes and even system design change, that’s the way it could shape up in the long rum.

Dr. Seddon says we won’t necessarily be there by 2030 but the momentum will be building.

For Farmscape.Ca, I’m Bruce Cochrane.

       *Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork

 

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