Farmscape for August 13, 2020
Research conducted by the Prairie Swine Center and the Universities of Saskatchewan and Guelph have shown the long distance transport of weaner pigs results in greater physiological effects than shorter distance transport.
As part of ongoing research funded by Swine Innovation Porc and the Agriculture Development Fund Saskatchewan scientists are tracking the effects of transport, short compared to long, 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, reports levels of compounds in the blood that indicate stress were not significantly influenced during short trips but were elevated during long trips.
Clip-Dr. Yolande Seddon-Western College of Veterinary Medicine:
Stresses happen but is it resulting in physiological changes that could result in distress for the animal or could it compromise the health of the animal which might have knock on effects for not only the welfare but the ability to have efficient production systems and maybe an increase in antibiotic use for example.
The next stage is collecting more data first.
We have more trips being run currently and we are collecting more data from trips that are going up to 36 hours of transport to assess short versus long trips and because we just need an increased sample size.
Once we actually have more data in this area, if we are able to identify that there are factors that are influencing the stress response to where it is going outside of normal reference ranges and maybe creating a physiological change in the animal that we need to support being reversed, that's where we would look at intervention strategies to see how we can reduce the amount of physical stress that the pigs are experiencing.
Dr. Seddon says it's about understanding how our practices influence the pigs and if we need to intervein.
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