Much research has been undertaken in the use of distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) in growing pigs, but little attention has been paid to the use of the ethanol byproducts on female reproduction....More
Optimizing sow body condition is an important strategy in minimizing feed costs and maximizing reproductive efficiency and sow well-being. Most commercial producers visually (subjectively) score sow body condition. However, everyone does not see body condition the same. An objective standard is needed to ensure barn workers are scoring sow body condition consistently....More
In an effort to gauge consumer perceptions of livestock production, Purdue University’s Department of
Agricultural Economics and Depart¬ment of Animal Sciences conducted a consumer survey last summer. The survey of 798 participants from a nationally representative sample collected information regarding livestock product purchasing characteristics, perceptions of pig welfare and sources of animal welfare information....More
How would you rank the pork industry challenges in the order of importance? Would your list include sow gestation housing, antibiotic use in livestock, the Renewable Fuels Standard/ethanol production, 2013 Corn Crop, Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS)?...More
Sow body condition scoring is more important than ever as producers move toward putting sows in groups as part of a move toward more pen gestation systems. In order to effectively assign subjective (visual) body condition scores, sows should be analyzed and scored early in gestation. It is critical to understand the points of evaluation on the animal and to be able to distinguish between fat and muscle.
For many, particularly those in the 45- to 60-year-old age range, the relentless push to move gestating sows out of stalls and into pens “just doesn’t feel right,” explains Tim Loula, DVM, with the Swine Vet Center (SVC), St. Peter, MN....More
One made the transition voluntarily; the other by law.
Day zero for phasing out of gestation stalls for Smithfield Foods was Jan. 25, 2007, when they announced their intent to eliminate gestation stalls within 10 years in favor of loose sow housing for their company-owned sow farms....More
Why is it that whenever you mix unfamiliar sows or pigs in a group a fierce battle ensues?
It’s in their genes. Pigs are hard-wired to establish a hierarchy when placed in the near proximity of others. That’s the conclusion USDA livestock behavioral specialist Jeremy Marchant-Forde offered at a sow housing workshop during the Leman Swine Conference recently. But he adds a caveat: Given a choice, they might just avoid the altercation altogether. At least, that’s what their ancestors would do....More
The president of an organization leading the fight against cramped cages for pregnant pigs said Tuesday he's seeking a spot on Tyson Food Inc.'s board of directors to put more pressure on the nation's second-largest pork processor to abandon the crates....More
ConAgra Foods, Inc., one of North America's leading food companies, Monday issued the following statement regarding the use of gestation housing for sows by pork producers:
“As part of our long-standing commitment to the humane treatment and handling of animals, ConAgra Foods supports the elimination of gestation stall housing for sows. We are asking our pork suppliers to present actionable plans by 2017 that address both the elimination of gestation stalls and creation of traceability systems within the pork supply chain....More
Atlantic Premium Brands Ltd. Announced today it will work to eliminate sow gestation stalls within its supply chain by 2017. The company, based in Northbrook, IL, is a national pork distributor supplying retail grocery chains in the United States, including Walmart, Kroger, Costco, Win Dixie, Sam’s Club, Safeway and SUPERVALU....More
Jack in the Box, Inc. announced late last week that it will be moving to eliminate gestation stall use from the company’s supply chain within ten years. The San Diego-based company consists of more than 2,200 Jack in the Box restaurants and 576 Qdoba Mexican Grill restaurants....More
In July, the animal rights group Mercy for Animals (MFA) released an undercover video shot at one of Christensen Farms' facilities in an effort to pressure retail outlets to denounce the use of gestation stalls by their pork suppliers. In the aftermath, Christensen Farms’ Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Glenn Stolt offers some crisis management tips to fellow pork producers....More
With major pork buyers such as McDonald’s, Hormel and Safeway announcing plans to move toward gestation stall-free suppliers, a growing number of the nation’s hog farmers are exploring group housing options....More
Market forces are rapidly driving big changes in housing systems for pregnant sows. Pork producers are wondering how to successfully transition from gestation stalls to penned gestation systems within the confines of existing buildings. This general question was posed by a 5,000-sow, commercial, farrow-to-wean pig producer in North Dakota. Specifically, the producer asked how to retrofit their gestation barn from stalls to pens without changing sow inventory, and what the consequences of such a change would be. While there are many issues that could be studied related to this transition, University of Minnesota researchers chose pen size as the primary issue to consider....More
The Humane Watch organization recently produced an informative video explaining how gestation stalls help keep sows safe. See the video at the Humane Watch Web site at http://humanewatch.org/index.php/site/post/maternity_pens/....More
Calling attention to fundraising practices many organizations contend seem deceptive, HumaneWatch.org is running a full-page ad in USA Today targeting the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)....More
The Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS) is launching a new ad campaign targeting the pork industry and gestation crate use. Wayne Pacelle, HSUS CEO, talks about the upcoming campaign in his blog. HSUS is urging followers to use social media to post an ad featuring a quote made by National Pork Producers (NPPC) Council Director of Communications Dave Warner. Several hundred HSUS followers have registered comments on the NPPC Facebook page rallying against gestation crates this week....More
An investment by the Pork Checkoff over the last decade of $1.2 million in scientific research on sow housing shows that a number of production systems can work well for pigs. However, the sow-housing issue continues to make headlines.
To date, eight states have enacted legislation limiting gestation stall use. Also, there has been a flurry of announcements from pork industry customers seeking to require suppliers to provide pork from sows housed in groups rather than gestation stalls....More
Minnesota Pork Producers Association (MPPA) Executive Director Dave Preisler was facing a wall of television cameras this morning following the release of undercover video shot in a Minnesota swine facility....More
A Mercy for Animals (MFA) spokesman revealed more details about the process used to pressure retailers to make gestation stall decisions during a press conference held in Minneapolis to reveal undercover video footage this morning....More
Sow numbers in the European Union (EU) are down slightly from 13 million sows, 2010 vs. 2011. “A number of big countries have seen limited change, while in a number of eastern and central European countries the change is massive,” points out Peter Kristensen, DVM, former general manager of animal health for Boehringer Ingelheim in the Ukraine, Belorussia and Kazakhstan....More
Done poorly, the loss of sow performance and the increase in sow mortality will explode.” That is the learned observation of Peter Kristensen, DVM, a native of Denmark, who most recently served as general manager of animal health for Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. in the Ukraine, Belorussia and Kazakhstan....More