Animal welfare cast in bronze by Pork CRC

Animal welfare was the focus of Pork CRC’s bronze sponsorship of ‘Animal Production 2018’, the 32nd biennial conference of the Australian Society of Animal Production.

Held over three days in July at Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, its theme was ‘Fostering innovation through the value chain’.

Pork CRC Manager, Commercialisation and Research Impact, Charles Rikard-Bell, who attended and represented the Cooperative Research Centre for High Integrity Australian Pork, said the theme was a perfect fit, as Pork CRC’s four programs were all about innovation up and down the value chain.

This was particularly the case with Program One, ‘Reduced confinement of sows and piglets’, which focussed on developing innovative sow and piglet management and housing systems that progressively relied on less confinement to optimise sow and piglet welfare, while maintaining production efficiency and profitability.

Pork CRC Subprogram 1C leader, Professor Paul Hemsworth of University of Melbourne, delivered the Barnett Memorial Lecture at the first day’s final session ‘Consumer demands and welfare’, which was sponsored by Pork CRC.

The main conclusion from his lecture, titled ‘Key determinants of pig welfare: implications of animal management and housing design on livestock welfare’, was that group housing provided welfare advantages in most situations.

Prof Hemsworth said it was clear from Pork CRC research that appropriate housing design, good management and stockmanship were three key drivers of successful group housing.

Design factors covered by his lecture involved research in areas of floor spacing, feeding systems, time of mixing, restrictive feeding and environmental enrichment.

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