Farmscape for October 14, 2005 (Episode 1938)
The Director of the University of Minnesota Swine Centre suggests the animal welfare debate needs to focus more on the needs of animals as opposed to their rights and freedoms.
University of Minnesota Associate Professor of Veterinary Population Medicine Dr. John Deen addressed the Prairie Swine Centre's Annual Directors' Lecture Wednesday in Saskatoon.
He suggests the animal welfare debate often revolves around superimposed human social values, while failing to consider basic needs like health and protection from aggression.
Clip-Dr. John Deen-University of Minnesota
If the United Nations or other groups compare the welfare of people across different societies, we can use the same numbers for comparing farms and management systems.
We look at factors such as longevity.
We look at factors such as neonatal morality.
We look at whether or not adequate food is available, whether clean water is available, whether pigs are protected or people are protected from aggression.
I think we have to get back to some of those numbers.
It's not something that the public normally thinks about but we have to put them forward as challenges in swine production and we do each and every day when we talk about how we manage our farms.
That is something that poorer cultures understand more quickly than a westernized culture does.
An affluent culture has ignored those factors and gone to higher level requirements of the farm when sometimes we're still struggling with some of the basic elements of animal care.
Dr. Dean suggests producers have responsibilities to meet the needs of their animals to survive, to thrive and to be protected from the insults that occur.
He maintains farmers do care for their animals but their decision making is based on a lot more knowledge of the animals and also of the resources they have.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.
*Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork Council