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Pig Welfare Symposium

November 7, 2017 - November 9, 2017

November 7-9, 2017 | Des Moines, Iowa

Des Moines Marriott Downtown

700 Grand Avenue


The Pig Welfare Symposium provides a forum for sharing ideas, learning from other segments of the industry and fostering dialogue on pig welfare related issues. The next symposium will be held Nov. 13-15,
2019 ‐ location yet to be determined. Presentations from the 2017 Pig Welfare Symposium are now available here.

The National Pork Board is pleased to offer a scientific poster session as part of the 2017 Pig Welfare Symposium. The Symposium will provide a forum for sharing ideas, learning from other segments of the industry, and fostering dialogue on animal welfare related issues. Specific objectives of the Symposium are to improve the well-being of pigs by disseminating recent research findings and recommendations, raising awareness of current and emerging issues and identifying potential solutions. We invite you to present your scientific work in a poster session to share research results with producers and facilitate discussion and networking.

Abstract submission deadline: June 15, 2017 – 5:00 pm CDT

Submit abstracts here

Download abstract requirements, submission, evaluation and poster competition information

Abstract Requirements

All abstracts must be written in English and must contain the following information:

  • Title – should be short but descriptive, maximum 25 words
  • Author names, organizations and contact information
  • Abstract body – should contain a maximum of 400 words (count excludes title, authors and institutions) and include:
    • Clear and concise objectives of the research
    • Pertinent methodological conditions to define the scope of the work
    • Details that directly influence interpretation or understanding of methods or results
    • A summary of results with sufficient detail to authenticate interpretation of the data
    • Clearly stated conclusions

Abstract topics must be relevant to U.S. production and address at least one of the following areas:

An abstract is unacceptable if it:

  • Is not relevant to the stated objectives and scope of the Symposium
  • Contains typing errors, grammatical errors or meaningless statements such as “The results will be presented”
  • Presents data without appropriate statistical analyses or measurements of data variability
  • Includes no data relating to the stated objective of the work
  • Fails to comply with abstract requirements
  • The abstract should not contain figures or graphs
  • The author submitting the abstract is responsible for the content, the quality of the preparation, and to ensure all co-authors are properly listed on the abstract

Submission Process

Submission instructions

  • All abstracts must be submitted online, no later than June 15, 2017
  • It is recommended that all abstract components be copied directly from a word processing file. The formatting and special characters will carry over directly into the abstract system. No coding will be necessary.
  • Select the appropriate box if the abstract should be included in the student poster competition or if the work submitted is the result of Pork Checkoff funding
  • The author who submit the abstract will receive an email confirmation of submission, including an assigned abstract number. This abstract number must be referenced in all correspondence.
  • Accepted abstracts will be published in the Symposium proceedings. Ensure your abstract does not contain spelling, grammatical or scientific errors, as it will be reproduced exactly as submitted. No proofreading will be done.
  • By submitting the abstract, the author declares consent of all co-authors and is responsible for informing co-authors about the status of the abstract
  • Submission of an abstract constitutes a formal commitment by the presenting author to present the abstract if accepted
  • If you need to withdraw your abstract, a written statement reflecting the reason for withdrawal must be sent to the National Pork Board no later than October 1, 2017

Timeline of review process and author notification

  • All submitted abstracts will undergo a peer review. Abstracts will be reviewed based on the criteria listed in the Abstract Requirements section.
  • The submitting author will be notified by email of abstract acceptance by September 1, 2017
  • The presenting author must be registered for the Symposium no later than October 1, 2017. Failure to register by the deadline will result in exclusion of the abstract from the proceedings and the author will not be allowed to present the poster.

Student Poster Competition

The National Pork Board is pleased to offer the opportunity for students to compete for awards in the Pig Welfare Symposium Student Poster Competition.


Poster abstracts eligible for competition are those submitted and presented by a student enrolled in an undergraduate, graduate, or veterinary program at the time of submission. Submitting authors must check the appropriate box on the submission form to be included in the poster competition.

Judging Process

  • Three judges who are not associated with the participating students or their projects will conduct the judging in the poster display area during the evening reception on Tuesday, November 7, 2017.
  • The presenting student MUST be stationed at their poster for judging during the assigned time, and should be ready at their poster ten minutes in advance of the scheduled time.
  • A ten-minute time slot is allotted to each poster for the judges to ask questions of the presenter and score the poster. The scoresheet used for judging appears below.
  • Specific judging process logistics are subject to change pending total number of contest submissions received.
  • Awards: The results of the poster competition will be announced and the following scholarship awards will be presented during lunch on Wednesday, November 8, 2017. Winners will be awarded as follows
    • 1st place poster: $500
    • 2nd place poster: $350
    • 3rd place poster: $150

Accepted Abstracts

Poster Requirements

  • The Symposium attendees will have diverse backgrounds and will include pig farmers, packer/processors, veterinarians, and animal scientists. Poster design should emphasize visuals and implications.
  • The poster content must reflect the title listed in the program, but is not limited to the information submitted in the proceedings paper. That is, additional text, tables, figures and photographs that are unable to be included in the written paper may be included on the poster.
  • Posters may be oriented horizontally OR vertically, but must fit within a display area that is 3 ½ feet wide by 4 feet tall. Materials for mounting the posters will be provided.
  • Electronic versions of the poster must be submitted by October 31, 2017. Posters must be submitted as a PDF file and will be posted online with the proceedings after the Symposium.

Exhibit Schedule

Tuesday, November 7, 2017
11:00 am – 1:00 pm Poster setup
3:30 pm – 4:00 pm Break – Poster authors to be stationed near poster
5:30 pm – 7:30 pm Reception – Student Poster Competition judging

Wednesday, November 8, 2017
6:00 am – 7:30 am Breakfast – poster display continues; author presence not required
9:00 am – 9:30 am Break – Poster authors to be stationed near poster
11:30 am – 12:30 pm Lunch – poster display continues; author presence not required
Student Poster Competition winners announced
1:00 pm – 5:00 pm Posters may be removed by authors; NPB not responsible for posters remaining after 5:00 pm

Student Poster Competition sponsored by Merck Animal Health

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

  • 12:00 pm Registration Opens
  • 1:00 pm Welcome and Opening Remarks Paul Ayers, The Maschhoffs
    Keynote: Why Animal Welfare? Ed Pajor, University of Calgary
  • 2:00 pm Animal Ethics and Influence on Societal Perception Samantha Noll, Haverford College
  • 2:30 pm What Do Consumers Really Want? Jan Johnson, Millennium Research, Inc.
  • 3:30 pm Break (Research Posters and Tech Tables)
  • 4:00 pm A View of the Horizon – Emerging Issues and International Standards Jeremy Marchant-Forde, USDA – ARS
  • 5:00 pm Finding Balance and a Path Forward Chad Gregory, United Egg Producers
  • 5:30 pm Final Announcements
  • 5:30 pm – 8:00 pm Reception (Research Posters and Tech Tables)

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

    • 7:30 am Animal Welfare Assessment – Application of Science Siobhan Mullan, University of Bristol
    • 8:00 am Demonstrating Integrity – Walking the Talk Keith Schoettmer, Schoettmer Prime Pork Farm
    • 8:30 am Creating Positive Barn Culture – A Producer Panel Moderator: Karen Hoare, National Pork Board; Glenn Stolt, Christensen Farms; Joe Dykhuis, Dykhuis Farms; Phil Borgic, Borgic Farms
    • 9:00 am Break (Research Posters and Tech Tables)
    • 9:30 am Breakout Session #1 – Lameness; Understanding the Common Swine Industry Audit


Understanding the Common
Swine Industry Audit

Chair: Anna Johnson – Iowa State University Chair: Angela Baysinger – Merck
9:30 am Selecting a robust gilt Joe Stock

Iowa State University

General overview of the CSIA Chris Rademacher

Iowa State University

10:00 am Validation of a lameness diagnostic manual for naturally occurring sow lameness Anna Forseth

Iowa State University

Producer perspectives on the auditing process Brad Greenway

Greenway Pork

Emily Erickson

New Fashion Pork

10:30 am Do rubber mats in farrowing help lame sows? Magnus Campler

Ohio State University

Auditor perspective on the auditing process Matt Jones

Validus Ventures

11:00 am Sow lameness in different housing systems: what factors should we consider? Laurie Connor

University of Manitoba

Panel Discussion Moderator: Angela Baysinger Merck Animal Health
    • 11:30 am Lunch
      Posters and Poster Competition Winner
    • 12:30 pm Breakout Session #2 – Pain Management in Pigs; Low Stress Animal Handling

Pain Management in Pigs

Low Stress Animal Handling

Chair: Jeremy Marchant-Forde – USDA-ARS Chair: Steve Moeller – Ohio State University
12:30 pm Identifying pain in pigs and the theory of treatment Sandra Edwards

Newcastle University

ProHand Pigs – Exploring the pig – caretaker connection Grahame Coleman University of Melbourne
1:00 pm Pharmacological pain management in sows Eva Mainau

Autonomous University of Barcelona

Developing and implementing an on-farm pig handling training program Paul Ayers

The Maschhoffs

1:30 pm Pharmacological pain management in piglets Hans Coetzee

Kansas State University

Novel approaches to finishing pig load-out Alan Evers

Cooper Farms

2:00 pm Management alternatives to painful procedures in piglets Mhairi Sutherland

AgResearch New Zealand

Outcome-based measurements for pig handling and welfare Collette Kaster


    • 2:30 pm Break
    • 2:45 pm Breakout Session #3 – Euthanasia; Gestation Sow Housing


Gestation Sow Housing

Chair: Suzanne Millman – Iowa State University Chair: Yuzhi Li – University of Minnesota
2:45 pm Mechanisms behind techniques and what the pig experiences Jean-Loup Rault

University of Melbourne

Application of research to improve performance and welfare of group-housed gestating sows Paul Hemsworth

University of Melbourne

3:15 pm Aiding on-farm decision making about euthanasia Monique Pairis-Garcia

Ohio State University

Training employees for group gestation housing Jon Hoek
3:45 pm Emotional impact of euthanasia and depopulation on caretakers Alex Ramirez

Iowa State University

Producer Panel: Experience with group-housing gestating sows Moderator: Paul Hemsworth

Noel Williams

Iowa Select Farms

Tim Friedel

Thomas Livestock

Seth Krantz

Tosh Farms

Jason Dunfee

Hord Livestock

4:15 pm Animal welfare considerations during mass depopulation and examples of best practices Patrick Webb

National Pork Board/Ian Levis Seaboard Foods

  • 4:45 pm Closing Remarks JoDee Haala, Christensen Farms

Thursday, November 9, 2017

  • 7:00 am Registration Opens
  • 8:00 am Interactive Workshops Begin
    • Preparing for a Common Swine Industry Audit Chris Rademacher, Iowa State University
    • Low Stress Pig Handling Nancy and Don Lidster, DNL Farms
    • On-Farm Euthanasia Monique Pairis-Garcia, Ohio State University
  • 10:00 am Break
  • 12:00 pm Interactive Workshops
Register now for the 2017 Pig Welfare Symposium
Registration after August 1 – $200
Student registration – $75Virtual Registration
Individual – $175
Group – $300Optional Interactive Workshops
Preparing for the Common Swine Industry Audit – $50
On-farm Euthanasia – $75
Low Stress Animal Handling – $75Cancellation Policy
Cancellation requests received on or before September 1, 2017 will receive a full refund of registration fees. No refunds will be granted after September 1, 2017. Cancellation requests can be submitted to pws@pork.org.Hotel Information
Des Moines Marriott Downtown
700 Grand Avenue
Des Moines, Iowa 50309
515-245-5500Special group rate – $149 per nightBook your group rate for Pig Welfare Symposium
Sign up here


November 7, 2017
November 9, 2017
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Des Moines Marriott Downtown
Des Moines, IA United States + Google Map

Event News

Outcome-Based Measurements for Handling Welfare

Guidelines from the North American Meat Institute, including seven areas to consider when auditing plant receiving practices discussed by Collette Kaster at the Pig Welfare Symposium.

Five Steps to Better Pig Care

After raising pigs, managing employees and loading more than half a million hogs onto market-bound trailers over 30 years, Keith Schoettmer has learned valuable insights about superior pig care.