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Multiple Options Available for Environmental Enrichment

26 May 2014, at 10:24am

CANADA - The president and CEO of the Prairie Swine Centre says pork producers have a variety of options available for enhancing the physical and social environments of their pigs.

Included as part of Canada's updated Pig Code of Practice, released in March, is a requirement for pigs to be provided with multiple forms of environmental enrichment to improve their welfare through the enhancement of their physical and social environments.

Prairie Swine Centre president and CEO Lee Whittington says the requirement is very general acknowledging that pigs are curious animals.

Lee Whittington-Prairie Swine Centre:

The way I would interpret this is that all kinds of aspects of enrichment become part of that, so simply pigs having access to other pigs, access to feed and feeders and some producers put toys in the pen.

On a recent trip to Denmark one of the most popular things for enrichment that they use is really just a wooden post in a sleeve in the corner of the pen that pigs chew on, pick up, knock down and it's treated just like another piece of equipment in the pen.

Enrichment is not prescriptive in any way.

It just recognises that all pigs are curious and all pigs would benefit, their welfare would benefit by having some enrichment.

Producers are open to interpret that and include the kind of enrichment that works.

It is not prescriptive and doesn't require straw, I think, is the important thing that producers need to realize, that whether it's rubber toys, suspended ropes, in the UK I've seen lots of people using rubber garden hose suspended on a chain and then they simply keep replacing the garden hose as it become mutilated and chewed up.

Mr Whittington says we know that pigs are curious and they have great oral capacity to touch and move things and that's what this enrichment area is all about.

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