The National Pork Board announced two newly-funded swine welfare projects covering pig handling and transport issues, says Sherrie Niekamp, new director of animal welfare for the Pork Board.

The one-year projects focus on the fatigued pig syndrome, which imposes an animal welfare and economic concern to everyone in the pork production chain, says Niekamp. The projects include:

  • “Comparison of Handling Attributes and Physiological Indicators of Stress and Welfare During Marketing of Pigs from Conventional Small Pens and Large Pen Auto-Sort Systems,” Prairie Swine Centre, Saskatchewan, Canada, and

  • “The Development of Improved Trailer Designs and Transport Management Practices to Create the Optimum Environment for Market Weight Pigs During Transport and Minimize Transport Loss,” University of Illinois.

The studies aim to provide some information on the causes of fatigued finisher pigs at marketing time and provide solutions to reduce the incidence, says Niekamp.

Fatigued pigs are animals that have temporarily lost the ability or desire to walk, but have a reasonable expectation to recover full locomotion with rest, she explains.