By Paul Ayers, manager of animal care for The Maschhoffs and immediate past chair of the Pork Checkoff’s Animal Welfare Committee
As pig farmers, we have an ethical obligation to provide care for the animals entrusted to us. With this obligation comes a commitment to continual learning. As the hog industry continues to evolve, our practices, research and conversations need to evolve as well.
The belief in the power of continual learning was our core motivation when putting together last fall’s first Pig Welfare Symposium. All pork industry stakeholders were able to gather together to share ideas surrounding our commitment to pig welfare.
While I enjoyed the great lineup of presenters, I also benefited from the one-on-one conversations I had in the halls and during meals. Networking gave me a chance to hear how peers are approaching animal care, and I left with several new ideas I have carried out successfully. Engaging with others also reinforced some practices we had recently implemented and gave me confidence that we are headed down the right path.
Overall, the symposium was a great opportunity to engage and learn from one another, and I came away with a renewed excitement about the industry’s shared commitment to pig welfare and helping one another learn. We’d love to have you join us, either in-person or virtually, at the next Pig Welfare Symposium, which will be held Nov. 13-15, 2019.
In the meantime, please take the time to pick up a pork publication, listen to a podcast or engage with a peer in the industry. Harnessing the power of being a continual learner can do nothing but help in our common goal of caring for our animals as best we can.