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11 December 2020

Supporting Farmers in Improving Sow Welfare On-Farm

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Posted by Janice Chow


Care 4 Pigs logo


The emphasis on animal wellbeing continues to increase among swine professionals and consumers alike. But what does good animal welfare look like and how can progress be measured on the farm?


To help take some of this ambiguity away, Care4Pigs winner, Professor Agnes Waret-Szkuta from Ecole Nationale Veterinaire de Toulouse, France, created a web and mobile application to offer swine professionals training on practical implementation, as well as useful parameters for measuring wellbeing improvements on farm:


“The training will help equip swine professionals to self-assess where they stand in terms of sow wellbeing, along with measures that can be implemented. It will also provide up to date scientific knowledge in an easy and efficient way. This aids understanding of how they can further improve the welfare of their animals.”


The training tool, O’porctunité, which has been piloted on a few farms, provides farmers with key parameters for conducting their own assessment of sow wellbeing on farm via a ‘welfare quality grid’. Each individual then receives downloadable training materials that are tailored to their farm and production system. Farmers can utilize the app to track progress. Likewise, users also have the opportunity to share feedback on how the training has had an impact.


Using this feedback Professor Waret-Skyuta looks to use the Care4Pigs grant to further fine-tune and develop the application, with the ultimate wish that it can also benefit swine professionals across the world:


“The grant will be used to further the application, incorporating the suggestions made by the swine professionals who have already tried it. In the future, we hope to see the app used by farmers and veterinarians to accompany farm-level practice changes for the benefit of animals. This can help farmers to meet the demands of a changing world. We hope the application will benefit a wide range of operations and farms, not only in France but across multiple regions.”


We invite you to read impressions from the Care4Pigs jury, and learn more about two more winning projects: Free farrowing systems management project from Switzerland and Online training tool for proper identification of pigs in need of care and treatment from Brazil.


The Care4Pigs global grant initiative is in line with Elanco’s strong commitment to advancing the health and wellbeing of animals and contributes toward Elanco Healthy Purpose™, the company’s approach to sustainability, as well as environmental, social and governance commitments.

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