History and best practices of captive bolt euthanasia for swine

This week, we are sharing a literature review based on a collaboration between Drs. John Deen and Perle Zhitnitskiy and the animal welfare team at the University of Wisconsin River Falls, led by Dr. Kurt Vogel. In this open-access publication from the Journal of Translational Animal Science, the authors review the history of captive bolt euthanasia, best practices and current challenges faced by the swine industry including the euthanasia of mature swine.

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Impact of Enrichment on the Behavior of Sows Housed in Groups

Drs. Ventura and Zhitnitskiy, faculty members in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resources and the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Minnesota recently published a new article regarding the influence of point-source enrichment on the behavior of gestating sows housed in groups. The article is available in open-access on the Frontiers in Animal Science website.

Key Points

  • Most common observed behaviors were sows being inactive (73%), followed by sham-chewing (16%). Enrichment use made up only 1% of observations.
  • Number of observed interactions with enrichment decreased sharply on the second day.
  • Low-parity sows, moderately-lame sows, and sham-chewing sows interacted more with the enrichment.
  • No increase in adverse effects (agonistic behaviors, sham-chewing) was observed.
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How Could Prop 12 Drive Choices?

Podcasts are a perfect way to get caught up with new swine information! We are presenting you the latest episode from “At The Meeting… Honoring Dr. Bob Morrison” in collaboration with SwineCast.

This episode shares insight from Rabo Bank’s Christine McCracken on California’s Farm Animal Confinement Initiative, also known as Prop 12. Producing pork is already complex and, if California’s Prop 12 initiative is implemented, it will force producers to choose which market segment they wish to serve.

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Vet Student Attitudes about Swine Change after Lecture and Farm Visit

In this new publication from the Journal of Veterinary Medical Education, Dr. Perle Zhitnitskiy from the UMN swine group, in collaboration with Dr. Beth Ventura explores the impact that various educational initiatives have on first-year veterinary students attitudes towards swine production.

Key Points

  • First-year students undergo 1-hour lecture and one farm visit in their first year of the curriculum.
  • Knowledge and attitudes towards pigs improved after the educational initiatives.
  • Students became more segmented in their overall view of swine production.
  • Provision of enrichment did not increase students’ satisfaction with the level of animal welfare on the farm.
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Impact of increasing age on pig performance and belly nosing prevalence in a commercial multisite production system

Today, we share last week Science Page from the Bob Morrison’s Swine Health Monitoring Project. The previous editions of the science page are available on our website.

Dr. Jamil E. G. Facci –Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil)- and colleagues evaluate the relationship between current commercial weaning ages and post-weaning resilience to stress. In relation to this topic and for further details, visit the full work published in the Journal of Animal Science.

Key Points

  • Increasing weaning age has an impact on pig production metrics and behavioral indicators.
  • Examining decisions about weaning age is important in today’s global scenario of antibiotic reduction and increased welfare concerns.
  • The reduction of removal and mortality during the nursery phase is an important impact of increased weaning age.
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