Research to Benefit Shippers of Young Pigs

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Farmscape for October 30, 2019

Full Interview 8:52 Listen

Those who move young pigs are expected to reap the benefits of research being conducted on behalf of Swine Innovation Porc. As part of a Swine Innovation Porc program scientists are generating objective scientific information on the effects of commercial transport on the health and welfare of early-weaned piglets. Dr. Terri O’Sullivan, an associate professor with the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph, says the majority of research has been conducted on the transport of market hogs so data on piglets is limited.

Clip-Dr. Terri O’Sullivan-Ontario Veterinary College:
The research data is being collected geographically in Ontario and Saskatchewan and what we are doing is we are using commercially transported piglets that are being transported in commercial trucks and trailers, so pig transport that is already occurring. What are we using in terms of how are we gathering information? We are using different types of data collecting tools and metrics. We have put accelerometers on the trailers that helps measure vibration.
A small selection of piglets are wearing heart rate monitors during transport so we can collect their heart rates during different parts of the transport. We’re also using video cameras and time lapse photography on the trucks as well as upon arrival to the nursery barn. Our hope is overall, as a big umbrella goal, is that the data will be used to inform and expand our knowledge on the transport of weaned pigs. So this information has the potential to be used by all aspects of the industry, producers, transporters, regulation as well as to inform future research so that we can continue to always move forward with our understanding of health and welfare of this age of pig.

Dr. O’Sullivan says the information will potentially help improve the transport of young pigs and maximize welfare.
She says the analysis of data already collected will help determine next steps.

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