The National Pork Board’s animal welfare committee held a strategic planning session July 8 in San Antonio, TX, just prior to the American Society of Animal Science annual meeting.

The goal of the workshop was to obtain input on research priorities from outside the committee including researchers, Extension specialists and pork producers, according to Sherrie Niekamp, Pork Board’s director of animal welfare.

The group of 25 talked about animal welfare research priorities specifically for sow gestation housing, handling and transport, on-farm euthanasia and on-farm production practices in general.

Niekamp says there also was a fair bit of discussion about a growing need to allocate funds toward addressing sow well-being in farrowing and reducing piglet mortality. One of the first steps is to identify what research has been completed and what research areas need attention, she says.

Information from the workshop will be used by the Pork Board to develop research priorities as well as writing requests for research submissions to be funded in 2008.