New Report Looks at Swine Gestation Systems

CAST releases report that looks at individual gestation accommodations for dry sows in pork production.

There's plenty of debate surrounding the use of individual gestation accommodations for dry sows in commercial swine herds, with public perceptions and misconceptions of welfare issues having a potentially dramatic impact on U.S. swine production.

The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology has released a new issue paper on the topic - Scientific Assessment of the Welfare of Dry Sows Kept in Individual Accommodations.

"Too few statistically adequate, scientifically controlled trials on industry farms have been conducted; many reports are not useful for critical evaluation," comments Stanley Curtis, Department of Animal Sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Curtis was task force chair for this project, adding: "More large-scale, on-farm, multidisciplinary, scientifically robust research and development are needed before rigid regulations should be imposed."

The issue paper offers a review of the most pertinent scientific literature on the welfare of dry sows housed in IGAs. The nine-member task force looked at a range of issues including:

  • Behaviorial Considerations
  • Nutrition and Feeding Considerations
  • Reproduction Considerations
  • Clinical Examination and Health Considerations
  • Manure Management Considerations
  • Ergonomic and Worker Safety Considerations
  • System Design Considerations
  • Future Directions

You can download the full text of the paper by visiting

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