As hog farmers work to raise safe and nutritious pork, they also strive to provide the best possible care for their pigs, ensuring their animals remain healthy and comfortable year-round. Following 105 Code of Practice requirements and undergoing rigorous assessments through federally recognized quality assurance programs, those who work in the hog sector are committed to maintaining animal health and wellbeing at each stage of life including providing veterinarian and nutritionist attention.

“Right from a young age, I knew that I wanted to work with livestock,” says Andrea Elias, a barn manager from southern Manitoba. “I really love working with the animals and I am really proud of the work we do here. I believe we go the extra mile to make sure they’re comfortable and their wellbeing is maintained, and that is our main goal.” 

Hog farmers and barn staff are dependent on the health of their animals for their livelihood and are part of a highly dedicated team of animal care professionals who look after the best interests of pigs. All barn staff, including managers and supervisors, have access to specialized training in learning modules provided by their local and national producer organizations, the new Swine Production Program through Assiniboine Community College, and training
offered as part of quality assurance programs. This training gives barn staff access to best management practices and new and emerging trends in animal care, allowing for continuous improvement in all facets of the care and handling of pigs.

New quality assurance programs PigCARE and PigSAFE set high standards, backed up by on-farm audits. These audits assess the completion of vital tasks including personnel training, barn maintenance and sanitation, the testing of feed and water supplies, transportation, and other key items. Audits include the ability to assess improvement orders to make necessary changes to operations. Hog farms are also governed by both federal and provincial law, and the
105 Code of Practice requirements for raising pigs are enshrined in the provincial Animal Care Act.

“The hog sector has very high standards when it comes to the health and wellbeing of their pigs,” Andrea adds. “Transportation standards, living standards, health standards. All these things are very well documented, we’re always working to improve them, and they are always science-based.”

Another key member of the animal care team in each barn are veterinarians like Dr. Melissa Desrochers, who is a vital part of HyLife’s Animal Care Team. Herd veterinarians visit barns to assess animal care standards, herd health and make care recommendations for individual pigs. Hog farmers work closely with their veterinarians to ensure animal wellbeing and health is maintained.

“Everyone involved in raising and transporting pigs is obliged to follow extensive national standards for care and handling,” Dr. Desrochers says. “Veterinarians like me play a key role in the health and well-being of pigs across Manitoba. We also use our expertise to support farmers and barn staff in ensuring that pigs are raised to only the highest standard of care.”

Today, over 95% of Canadian pigs are raised in open group pens, including about half the sows in Manitoba. Canada’s hog sector is making progress each day in working to house even more pigs in open housing thanks to new investments across the sector in infrastructure and barn improvements. 

Pigs raised indoors benefit from better individualized care and improved health, and barns provide pigs with shelter and a healthy, comfortable environment in which to grow. Today’s hog farms are designed to help farmers provide the best possible care for their animals, with animal welfare and food safety as top priorities.

Hog farmers are modifying their operations to replace older barns and equipment, upgrading electrical systems, and adopting new technology and animal care practices. Other on-farm enhancements include the use of enrichment, and it is now a requirement of the Code of Practice that all pigs have access to two forms of enrichment. Things like chew toys, small rubber tires, playing music in the barn, incorporating treats in feed, and contact with other pigs are common enrichment activities that offer an outlet for natural behaviours.

“The thing I enjoy most about this job is just being able to work with the animals every day,” says Andrea. “Seeing pigs from start to finish knowing that we’ve done a good job and that we’ve done our best to make sure they’ve had a
good life is my favourite part.”

Those who raise pigs like Andrea Elias and those who help care for their health like Dr. Melissa Desrochers are vital not only to the long-term success of our sector but are also crucial in ensuring that pigs receive only the best possible care. While this care takes on many forms and is the responsibility of many people, Manitoba’s hog sector is guided by rigorous standards that ensure only safe and nutritious pork makes its way to your table.

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Manitoba Pork represents 624 Manitoba hog farms

Manitoba Pork

Manitoba Pork’s office at 28 Terracon Place is open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m, closed from 12:00 p.m. to 12:45 p.m. for lunch. As much as possible, please contact by emailing or phoning in requests for information, ear tags, and other resources. Contact us by phone, fax, email or regular mail.

Tel: 204-237-7447
Fax: 204-237-9831
24-hour Emergency Contact Line: 1-833-310-0108

28 Terracon Place
Winnipeg, MB, Canada
R2J 4G7