Stockperson and husbandry skills are the most critical factor in ensuring good welfare and a life worth living for the pigs in their care. Stockpersons are expected to implement and follow the industry’s standard of care as laid out in the Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Pigs, government legislation, and the Animal Care Assessment (ACA) program as part of the Canadian Quality Assurance (CQA) program.
Code of Practice for the care and handling of pigs
The Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Pigs was updated in 2014 through the Code Development Process as defined by the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC). The Code outlines both required standards of care for pigs, as well as recommended practices to further enhance pig well-being on-farm. To find out more about NFACC and the Code Development Process, click here.
Group / Loose Housing for Sows
Manitoba Pork’s ongoing commitment to animal care can be viewed in our sustainable development plan, Embracing a Sustainable Future. Manitoba Pork has committed to providing the necessary tools, information and resources to help producers plan successful constructions of group-based sow housing systems. Manitoba Pork has worked closely with other collaborators on the National Sow Housing Conversion Project (NSHCP), which acts to collect and share information on actual group or loose sow housing systems. Click here for the NSHCP website.
Manitoba Pork developed the booklet, Options for Successful Group-Housing of Sows, for producers to consider their options when considering group / loose sow housing. In addition, the Centre de développement du porc du Québec inc. (CDPQ) has developed an excellent and comprehensive training manual for designing group housing systems and managing sows in groups, called Housing Sows in Groups – CDPQ Training Manual.
The University of Manitoba, in conjunction with Manitoba Pork and other collaborators, has developed a software program that allows producers to quickly generate designs and cost estimates for converting their existing sow barns to group housing. For a copy of the software, producers should contact Manitoba Pork at 204-237-7447.
Best Management Practices for Nursery Barns
Weaning is a stressful period for piglets that exposes them to a change in their environment, diet and social structure. These stressors can make them more susceptible to disease pressure. As such, the weaned piglet is a vulnerable animal that requires specialized care. The Best Management Practices for Nursery Barns booklet was developed to help producers to best manage their pigs during the critical post-weaning period.
In addition to the high standards of care that producers already adopt and are assessed on through the CQA program, these standards are also enforced through government legislation. The Government of Manitoba outlines the standards of care expected for all animals in Manitoba through The Animal Care Act, which includes reference to the Codes of Practice. The Government of Canada outlines what constitutes a criminal act of abuse or neglect in Part XI of The Criminal Code.
Humane Euthanasia of Swine
“Euthanasia” derives from Greek words meaning “good death.” Euthanasia is a form of medical treatment which relieves the suffering of sick or injured pigs. It is meant to provide a quick, painless and respectful end to a pig’s life. Although the vast majority of pigs live full, healthy lives, some pigs can naturally be affected by injury or illness. The right thing to do for pigs that are suffering, untreatable, unlikely to respond to treatment, worsening in condition despite treatment, or not responding to treatment within a reasonable timeframe is to euthanize them.
Alberta Farm Animal Care Association and Alberta Pork have developed a guide – Humane Handling Guidelines for Pigs: Standards for the Care of Compromised and Unfit Animals – to help pork producers quickly assess pigs and make decisions about the care of compromised and unfit pigs.
The IMPACT Program, administered by Farm & Food Care Ontario, also developed the On-Farm Euthanasia of Swine manual to help guide producers on making euthanasia-related decisions.