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Improved Animal Welfare Management Improves Behavior and Health and Increases Productivity

A researcher with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine says improving animal welfare management will result in healthier more productive animals that will cost less to bring to market."What the Chair in Swine Welfare is doing for you" will be discussed as part of the Prairie Swine Centre's spring producer meetings planned for Strathmore April 30th, Swift Current May 1st and Niverville May 3rd.

Dr. Martyna Lagoda, a Post-doctoral Fellow Swine Behavior and Welfare with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, explains ensuring high welfare standards involves taking into account the natural needs of the animal including behavior, mental stimulation and ensuring good health.

Quote-Dr. Martyna Lagoda-Western College of Veterinary Medicine:

All of this helps to support the animals' biological function and with positive effects on its performance and these considerations can be accommodated with management and care of the animals on farm.For example, providing animals with enrichment that allows them to express natural behaviors and maintaining positive relationships with your pigs to reduce their fear of humans are just some examples of how management and care can help improve the welfare on farm.
There is much work that exists to show positive associations between improved welfare and productivity.

This, in particular is facilitated by the beneficial effects of welfare on for example stress levels, immunity and health and the animals’ resilience in the face of challenges.Pigs regarded to have better welfare can still have lower stress levels and improved health which then means that they use resources such as feed more efficiently because they don't need to redirect these resources to activate their immune system thanks to their resilience to infection challenges.This not only means more productive animals but also reduces the need for antibiotic treatment for example and that leads to reduced costs.

To register for the spring producer meetings, contact Donna.VanGorp@zoetis.com, Steffen.Klenk@genusplc.com or Ken.Engele@usask.ca.

Source : Farmscape.ca

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