Understanding Stress During Transport Key to Minimising Impact

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Farmscape for August 21, 2020

Full Interview 18:47 Listen

Pork producers, swine transporters and regulatory authorities are expected to reap the benefits of research underway to assess the effects on pigs of long distance versus short distance transport. As part of ongoing research being conducted by the Prairie Swine Center and the Universities of Saskatchewan and Guelph with support from Swine Innovation Porc and the Agriculture Development Fund Saskatchewan, scientists are tracking the effects of stress during transport on weaned pigs. 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 we know transport is a stress but, what we want to guard against is stress becoming a distress.

Clip-Dr. Yolande Seddon-Western College of Veterinary Medicine:
I think the pigs are very resilient animals. A lot of them walk off the truck and they look good. It’s obviously a practice that we regularly do, transporting animals, but then understanding how our practices might be influencing gives us a greater appreciation. Then I think, in turn, we can adjust animal care to ensure that the pigs receive the support they need to overcome a stressor such as transport for example. I think there’s always something we can learn and I think this information can go toward supporting recommendations for best practices about how we transport pigs. Also some of it may, in the end, be used to support legislative regulations. Essentially, coming out of this work, there should be definitely recommendations able to come out that would result in some practical application for how, if we need to provide any supplementary support to pigs, what might work.

Dr. Seddon says by understanding how our practices influence the pigs it will be easier to determine when we need to intervein.

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