Low Stress Animal Handling Techniques Improves Worker Safety

CANADA - An animal care specialist with Manitoba Pork Council says the use of low stress handling techniques when loading, unloading or moving pigs creates a safer environment for both the animals and their handlers, according to Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 2 January 2014
clock icon 3 minute read

In October, Manitoba Pork Council released a new series of "Smart Pig Handling" videos.

Mark Fynn, an animal care specialist with Manitoba Pork Council, says the videos were designed specifically for pork producers and farm managers to use in training new employees and are designed to give those watching a firm foundation in the art of animal handling focusing on that minimal stress aspect.

Mark Fynn-Manitoba Pork Council

Within the training series there are six videos or chapters.

The first two chapters are foundation chapters for the videos with the remaining four being more specific to the farm type you're operating so they're quite customisable to farms.

As far as how they were produced, initially we set up a working group of experts in the industry involving experts from Maple Leaf Foods, Hylife Limited, the University of Manitoba and Elanco Animal Health.

They got together and developed the content for the videos.

We took footage in barn and then analyzed the footage of those videos and the result were these Smart Pig Handling videos.

We've handed out about 200 copies within Manitoba and we've also shipped copies to all the other provincial pork organizations who funded the videos and we've had quite a bit of support all across Canada for that.

As well, the first two chapters, which are the foundation chapters, we put up on our YouTube channel and our web site and there's been quite a number of views, several hundred views on those and so I think it's been quite positive.

Mr Fynn notes the content revolves around low stress animal handling techniques that make the job of moving pigs easier while reducing stress on both the pigs and on the handlers with a fairly heavy focus on the safety of the workers.

He points out, when you minimise stress on the pigs, it usually produces a fairly safe work environment as well.

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