Scientists Examine Effects of Transport on Early-Weaned Piglets
Dr. Jennifer Brown - Prairie Swine Centre
Farmscape for September 6, 2019
Researchers working on behalf of Swine Innovation Porc are gathering data that can be used to reduce the negative effects on young pigs of transport.
As part of a Swine Innovation Porc program, Canadian researchers are examining the effects of commercial transport conditions on the health and welfare of early-weaned piglets.
Dr. Jennifer Brown, a Research Scientist Ethology with the Prairie Swine Centre, says the first study looks at the effects of long and short duration transports to see what differences can be measured.
Clip-Dr. Jennifer Brown-Prairie Swine Centre:
We are collecting a large number of measures on these animals and also on the conditions during transport.
These piglets, we are weighing them on farm before they're transported.
We do a quick assessment of lesion scores, any obvious injuries, any lameness that we see in them.
We also give a selected number of pigs on each transport trailer a heart rate monitor and a temperature monitor.
We also collect blood samples both before and then after transport to give us a clear indication of the physiology of the pig in a subsample of animals that are going on each transport.
Then we'll use that data to evaluate if there's a greater effect in terms of the stress physiology of the animal in the short or the long transport and break it down by different sections of the transport to say whether it's the loading or the unloading or the actual duration of transport that's causing that effect.
We are also collecting a number of measures on the trailer.
We have temperature monitors on these trailers in different compartments.
We have cameras mounted in some of the compartments to take time lapse photos of pigs so we can see what behaviors they're performing, if they're moving around, if they're active or they're laying and resting so we can actually see what they're doing on the trailer.
Then we have, on some loads, an accelerometer to measure the vibration forces during transport.