Researchers Evaluate Potential of Video to Help Improve Pork Quality

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Farmscape for February 10, 2021

Full Interview 12:58 Listen

Researchers with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine have found using body cameras, similar to those used by police, offers a viable option for swine barn workers to support remote animal welfare assessments. Dr. Yolande Seddon, an Assistant Professor of Swine Behaviour and Welfare with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine and NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Swine Welfare, says the technology might also be used to identify animal welfare factors that impact product quality.

Clip-Dr. Yolande Seddon-Western College of Veterinary Medicine:
We’re wanting to evaluate the value of performing assessments of animal welfare indicators on the pigs at slaughter and understand how it relates to the welfare of the animals throughout their life on farm. If we can understand the relationships, we can identify if we can actually incorporate animal welfare based observations on carcasses as part of a surveillance or assessment tool in order to give feedback to producers about their animals on farm and other parts of the production chain, in transport and in lairage. So we’re wanting to evaluate the reliability and how specific these indicators at slaughter can tell us about animal welfare and the experience of the animal on farm.
Obviously if this is accurate and reliable then that would provide a valuable tool for industry to adopt supporting on farm assurance schemes for animal care and providing tools for businesses to give feedback to producers about their animals from which monitoring and continuous improvement can grow.

Dr. Seddon says, while there will always be a need for live animal assessments, having the virtual ability as well means we can increase the frequency of assessments and oversight while potentially reducing costs.

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