Animals In Print
The On-Line Newsletter
From 24 September 2004 Issue
PIG INDUSTRY REPORTS IMPROVEMENTS IN HANDLING AND TRANSPORT
The National Pork Board's 3-year-old Trucker Quality Assurance (TQA) program has contributed to about 70,000 fewer pigs dying in 2003 while in transit to be slaughtered. However, an estimated 230,000 pigs still died while being transported during the year. The data comes from the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), which states that dead pigs during transport peaked at 0.30% in the years 1998-2001, but dropped to 0.23% in 2003. Approximately 100 million pigs are slaughtered in the US every year. The TQA program was implemented in February 2002 to "ensure the safe transport of hogs to slaughter." Since its inception, the program has issued more than 9,000 certificates for course completions. The program covers the areas of pre loading, transport, and unloading of pigs. TQA will be revised in February 2005, in part to educate truckers about "the importance of moving hogs patiently and in small groups... and paying close attention to protecting pigs when hauled in extreme weather conditions."
Another National Pork Board program, the Swine Welfare Assurance Program (SWAP), exceeded expectations in its first year by completing more than 100 assessments. According to the National Pork Board's Director of Animal Welfare, "SWAP is an assessment of the welfare of the animal... The program measures different aspects of animal welfare: behavior, performance and health, broken out into nine care and well being principles." Along with SWAP, the National Pork Board has initiated nine special projects to study the welfare of pigs over the next year, including gestation crates, welfare during transport, and the impact of piglet processing on animal well-being.
National Pork Board website: http://www.porkboard.org
From: Farmed Animal Watch
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