More than 260 producers, veterinarians, packers, processors, academics and other pork industry partners attended the Pork Checkoff’s inaugural Pig Welfare Symposium in Des Moines, Iowa, Nov. 7 to 9. The agenda focused on general welfare concepts and how they can be applied at the farm level. “The symposium was the first of its kind,” said Dave Pyburn, D.V.M., the Pork Checkoff’s senior vice president of science and technology. “It brought pork industry segments together to share ideas, to learn from each other and to foster dialogue on pig welfare.”
He added, “Producers have always focused on pig care in their barns, with protecting and promoting animal well-being as one of the pork industry’s six We Care SM ethical principles. The symposium addressed how we can continue to make improvements.” Topics included animal handling, lameness, the Common Swine Industry Audit, pain management, euthanasia and gestation sow housing. Highlights included defining animal welfare, a live consumer panel, international perspectives on emerging issues and producers’ on-farm experiences. Sixty of the attendees also participated in one of three interactive workshops: the Common Swine Industry Audit, on-farm euthanasia or low-stress pig handling. The next Pig Welfare Symposium will be in 2019. Look for recordings of the 2017 presentations soon on and for more detailed coverage in the next issue of Pork Checkoff Report.