Stress study to boost pig wel­fare

Countryman - - LIVESTOCK - Zach Relph

Re­searchers spear­head­ing a three-year col­lab­o­ra­tive pro­ject to im­prove Aus­tralian pig in­dus­try wel­fare stan­dards are wel­com­ing an al­most $900,000 in­jec­tion.

The Aus­tralasian Pork Re­search In­sti­tute Limit­ed­backed study, fo­cus­ing on pig early stress ex­pe­ri­ences and stress re­silience, re­ceived a $450,000 grant from Aus­tralian Re­search Coun­cil. An ad­di­tional $449,393 has been com­mit­ted from other pro­ject part­ners.

APRIL chief ex­ec­u­tive and chief sci­en­tist John Pluske said the ARC grant would aid stud­ies to shape a greater un­der­stand­ing of pig heat-stress.

“APRIL’s vi­sion is for col­lab­o­ra­tive pork in­dus­try re­search, fo­cused on in­dus­try-led pri­or­i­ties, lead­ing to timely gen­er­a­tion and adop­tion of out­comes able to en­sure sus­tain­abil­ity and prof­itabil­ity of Aus­tralasian pork pro­duc­ers,” he said.

“This pro­ject, backed by in­ter­na­tional col­lab­o­ra­tion, will have a global im­pact on new knowl­edge and im­proved hus­bandry.”

Univer­sity of Mel­bourne, Univer­sity of Queens­land, SunPork So­lu­tions and Ri­valea Aus­tralia are also in­volved in the study.

Univer­sity of Mel­bourne vet­eri­nary clin­i­cal sciences aca­demic Paul Hemsworth said pig heat-stress stud­ies would un­der­pin so­cial con­fi­dence in the pork in­dus­try’s abil­ity to pro­mote an­i­mal wel­fare.

“Mod­ern pig farm­ing is a ma­jor source of food, pro­vid­ing sub­stan­tial nutri­tional, so­cial and eco­nomic ben­e­fits for Aus­tralia and the world,” he said.

“Im­por­tantly, pub­lic an­i­mal wel­fare con­cerns can dra­mat­i­cally af­fect wel­fare-based pur­chas­ing de­ci­sions and cur­tail farm prof­itabil­ity and the con­tin­ued use of spe­cific an­i­mal prac­tices.”

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