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PRESENT AND FUTURE U.S. SWINE WELFARE ISSUES. HOW IS THE INDUSTRY RESPONDING?
Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan www.asabe.orgCitation: Pp. 190-195 in Swine Housings II Proceedings of the 12-15 October 2003 Conference (Research Triangle Park, North Carolina USA), Publication Date 12 October 2003. 701P1303.
Authors: A. K. Johnson, E. A. Lautner, and P. L. Sundberg
Keywords: Behavior, Health, Performance, Physiology, Swine, Welfare
Recently in the U.S. there has been intense interest from the market place in animal welfare and on-farm production guidelines. Multiple communications with the marketing sector indicate that responsibility for animal welfare assurances may be transferred back to the producer. Therefore the National Pork Board’s Animal Welfare Committee (AWC) has worked with an international panel of experts to develop a program by which pork producers can objectively assess their swine welfare on-farm. The Swine Welfare Indexing SystemSM was the first phase of this collaboration and focused on gestating sow welfare. In 2002 the AWC expanded the program to include the farrowing sows and the neonatal piglet, nursery and finisher pigs. It has been renamed the Swine Welfare Assurance ProgramSM (SWAPSM). Three sections of SWAPSM will assess swine welfare. The first is an evaluation of records, the second is animal observations, and the third is an assessment of the facilities. Certified SWAPSM Educators (CSE) will educate producers and provide assessments. SWAPSM will benefit producers by providing them with a voluntary, uniform, producer-developed tool to help maintain market access or open up new marketing channels from markets that ask for information about animal welfare practices. SWAPSM can also help producers evaluate and track animal performance and welfare over time and identify weaknesses in management, nutrition or health programs before they become production and welfare problems. SWAPSM will also demonstrate the U.S. pork producers’ commitment to the welfare of their animals.