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Alberta to Evaluate Alternatives to Gestation Stalls

by 5m Editor
15 March 2004, at 12:00am

CANADA - Farm-Scape: Episode 1467. Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork.

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Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork

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Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council
and Sask Pork.

Farm-Scape, Episode 1462

Research about to get underway in Alberta will examine the use of various group housing systems as alternatives to gestation stalls for housing breeding sows.

A project, being planned by the Livestock Engineering Branch of Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development will evaluate the impact of various group housing systems on animal behavior and production economics.

The research will compare three different group housing systems to the standard gestation stall system.

Engineer in Training Kelly Lund says the goal is to help ensure the availability of socially acceptable animal welfare standards in food animal production.

"We're quite interested in international developments in animal welfare, specifically related to gestation sow housing.

In the EU they currently have legislation that has banned the construction of any new facilities that use gestation stalls.

Any production facilities that currently use gestation stalls have until the year 2013 to phase those out.

Animal welfare is more in the public eye in Europe but we see that progressing to North America fairly quickly.

We don't want to be caught off guard. We want to have the information for producers available so they can make informed decisions about how they want to house their animals in order that international markets wouldn't be closed to them".

The study will utilize facilities at the Swine Research Technology Centre at the University of Alberta Research Farm and facilities at Agriculture and Agrifood Canada's Lacombe Research Centre sow gestation unit.

Lund says the research should be in full swing by the end of next month and will continue for six gestation cycles, or about three years.

For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.

5m Editor