25 May 2018, 08:37 AM
AHDB Pork Blog
Richard and I seemed to be planning our trip to Canada for the best part of a year, and with the help of Dr Yolande Seddon, Assistant Professor, Swine Behaviour and Welfare at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatoon, Lee Whittington, CEO of the Prairie Swine Centre, and Genesus Genetics, the result was well worth the effort.
We wanted to incorporate a mix of practical, applicable and instructional activities and I think we achieved this. Richard has mentioned some of the great people we met and places we visited in his blog, including the Prairie Swine Centre, the London Swine Conference in Ontario and Don and Nancy Lidster from DNL Farms Ltd.
The London Swine Conference, described as a technology transfer conference, is aimed at pig producers. One of the most moving talks I have ever been to was delivered by two brave, young men who described the reality of owning and working on their pig units while dealing with depression. They described how they are dealing with their condition and the help they received both professionally and from their colleagues. What they didn’t need was someone telling them to “buck their ideas up!” I confess it brought a tear to my eye, which was a bit embarrassing as I was near the front row!
There was a good selection of papers over the two days and we will be bringing you details of their content over time. For me, one of the highlights of the trip was a day spent with Nancy and Don Lidster. Over the years, they have built up a well-deserved reputation for delivering informative training modules on how to move and handle pigs, to both transport handlers and stock operators. These are based on first recognising the differences between how a single pig or group of pigs behave, understanding why they do it, and then translating this into the Low Stress Pig Handling technique. One question to ask yourself is: “Why did my pigs stop?” The answer is predominantly: you did something wrong! Again, we hope to bring you more from Don and Nancy later in the year.
In the meantime, why not listen to the webinar we held in early May, which allowed us to go into a little more detail about each aspect of the trip?
You can also see some of the photos from the trip in our photo story here.
By AHDB Pork at 25 May 2018, 08:37 AM