Pork Checkoff Taking a Leadership Role in Sow Housing Debate

After extensive research into the sow housing issue – there has been a reaffirmation of the pork industry’s position, and the Pork Checkoff is adopting a leadership role. Pork Checkoff vice president of science and technology Dr. Paul Sundberg explains…

“Whether the sows are housed in pens or individual stalls their welfare can be equivalent in either one. The important thing is the ability of the producer, the ability of the caretaker, to be able to handle the sows that are in the facility. And to match the abilities of the producer with the housing type that is selected.”

The Pork Checkoff has a series of webinars underway for those on the farm – helping them make decisions on sow housing. The webinars will provide information based on experiences and science that will offer information for sow housing decisions…

“We are also working on another series of webinars with stall housing. Stall housing is the standard, but we will also give some information about detection of lameness and how to best take care of sows in stalls. Again, the important thing is to match up the abilities and the resources of the producer with the type of housing that they can use. That is what really addresses the welfare of the sow. And that is what the whole thing is about. The focus is on the sow and her welfare and trying to force things is not the way to go. So its producer choice, but it’s based on ability and resources, with a foundation in science.”

Information on the webinars is available at www.pork.org. Animal care is important to productivity – which is important to pork producers…

“Beyond that, there is also a commitment to the welfare of the animal because these people do work with animals. I have been a veterinarian for a long time and have worked with a lot of producers and farmers. It’s not infrequent that the farmers will say to do whatever it takes because we have to take care of that animal. Pork producers are the same way, they are part of that commitment. Beyond the economic commitment they are out on their farm taking care of their animals.”

Dr. Paul Sundburg, the Pork Checkoff’s vice president of science and technology.

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