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Posted in: Pork Insight Articles, Production by student on July 6, 2018

Author: Mike Cronin

Reference: Banff Pork Seminar Proceedings 2018

Summary: Birch Grove Pork, is a project in Iowa and is a Global Animal Partnership (GAP). It incorporates innovative animal welfare technology into a large scale facility. Animal welfare is defined by three overlapping components: health and productivity, natural living, and emotional well being.

Health and Productivity: involves raising animals in a means that they are of good health and productive.

Natural Living: raising animals so that they have the means to express their natural behaviors

Emotional Well Being: raising animals in an environment that minimizes boredom and allows them to be playful and happy.

In order for a barn to reach the requirements of a GAP 5-StepTM Animal Welfare Rating Program there are certain regulations that they must adhere to. This includes a minimum of 75% solid flood, a weaning age of 28 days minimum, antibiotic use as necessary, tagged animals sold to a separate market, bedding through gestation and farrowing, no crates or pens, tails are not docked and teeth are not clipped. Animals may be castrated by it must be completed by ten days of age, anything past ten days must be completed by a veterinarian.

More standards can be viewed at www.globalanimalpartnership.org

When developing Birch Grove Park, the Cronin’s faced a series of issues, including:

  • Large scale straw distribution systems are not yet available
  • Biosecurity challenges due to increased items entering the barn on an ongoing basis
  • Solid concrete floors hold more bacteria and have negative implications for animal health
  • Scheduling is challenging as half the time there is an increased demand for labour
  • Increased importance of record keeping

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