Improved swine well-being has long been linked to healthier animals with a better quality of life. This in turn, means lower rates of disease and neo-natal mortality, along with better fertility. Likewise, it has also been associated with higher job satisfaction for stock people and economic performance for farms.
However, to reap these associated benefits, well-being solutions must be easily implemented on the farm, explains Professor Xavier Manteca, from the School of Veterinary Science at the Autonomous University of Barcelona and Farm Animal Welfare Education Centre representative on the Care4Pigs jury.
The swine industry has long been advancing well-being standards – particularly in Europe – where some practices are being phased out. These changes have seen many swine professionals implement on-farm innovations aimed at enhancing the well-being of their animals.
These are the very individuals that we hope to see apply for the Care4Pigs grants; which could see winners receive up to €10,000 in support of their on-farm innovation.
As Professor Manteca explains, these innovations do not have to be large scale and should not be cost prohibitive:
“Innovations should be practical in the sense that they can be applied on real farms. We’re not talking about a strategy that is very sophisticated, or extremely expensive or requires an incredible amount of skill. We’re talking about a practical strategy that has been developed and applied on one farm, which could also be applied easily on other farms.”
Additionally, innovative ideas do not always only involve the animals, Professor Manteca advises potential grant applicants. He elaborates that well-being can also be advanced through the training of stock people, for example:
“The way stock people interact with animals has a lot to do with attitudes, beliefs and knowledge. One animal welfare improvement strategy that has been shown to be extremely useful is the training of stock people to increase the quality of the human-animal relationship.”
What types of innovations are we looking for in Care4Pigs applications?
Innovations must be economically viable, practical, and easy to implement across multiple farming systems. Most importantly, they must make a significant, measurable improvement to swine well-being and economic sustainability.
Therefore, if you’re a vet, commercial or home farmer, or researcher, we encourage you to apply. By sharing your knowledge and applying for one of three €10,000 Care4Pigs grants, you could help billions of pigs and their farmers.
Entries will be judged by experts from the Farm Animal Welfare Education Centre (FAWEC), the Korean Association of Swine Veterinarians (KASV) and the Brazilian Association of Veterinary Specialists in Swine (ABRAVES), alongside representatives of Bayer Animal Health.
Tips for a stand out Care4Pigs project proposal:
- Clearly define the well-being issue
- State your objective
- Show how your approach is original and addresses the issue
- Demonstrate the results from at least one farm, such as: better health outcomes, reduced negative behavior, more positive behaviors, or improved production
Visit www.care4pigs.com for more details and to submit your project proposal by 31st July 2020.