Researchers Work to Improve Piglet Comfort During Transport

Farmscape for December 6, 2019

Research being conducted on behalf of Swine Innovation Porc is helping improve the pork sector's understanding of the effects of transport on early weaned piglets.
As part of a Swine Innovation Porc program scientists are collecting data in Ontario and Saskatchewan using piglets being transported in commercial trucks and trailers to provide objective scientific information on the effects of commercial transport on the health and welfare of these piglets.
Dr. Terri O'Sullivan, an associate professor with the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph, says scientists are using various data collecting tools such as accelerometers that measure vibrations on the trailer, heart monitors to collect the piglets' heart rates during different parts of the transport and video cameras and time lapse photography.

Clip-Dr. Terri O'Sullivan-Ontario Veterinary College:
The majority of research that has been conducted has been conducted on transport in market hogs so there is actually a limited amount of research and objective data that has been collected and investigated in piglets of this age group.
So our hope is basically to improve our overall knowledge of what we are doing and how we can potentially improve transporting pigs of this age.
It'll help answer welfare questions as well as maximize welfare.
The data we have collected now is comparing piglets that are doing a short transport versus a longer transport, so are there any differences between a short time on the trailer versus a longer time.
We're right now focused on collecting the data, and this summer we have a lot of data already, and now organizing it and doing some analysis and interpretation.
I feel like that sounds like a standard researcher answer but that's legitimately where we are right now and then think about our interpretations from the data we've collected so far and how that will form our next steps.

Dr. O'Sullivan says the information gathered through this work will potentially help the pork sector maximize welfare during the transport of young piglets.
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Bruce Cochrane.

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