A University of Saskatchewan researcher has been awarded a coveted research chair funded by a combination of government, industry and university support.
Yolande Seddon, an assistant professor at the Western College of Veterinary, will lead a swine welfare research program that examines pig behavior and animal welfare.
Seddon says pigs are sentient beings, meaning that they are being with consciousness.
“We need to respect that and make sure they are not suffering and because we have so many in our care, that we are providing a good quality of life for them. If they are in the food chain for us, it is our responsibility that we take care of them optimally and ensure they are humanely raised.”
A happier pig should result in a healthier pig.
“If we are providing an optimal environment for the animal and give the animal a cognitive enrichment, so it has a reward from finishing a puzzle for example, we could have an improved immune response. We have good synergies to suggest that what could be good for the health of the animal, reduces antibiotic use and improves meat quality.”
The five-year research chair is receiving nearly $2 million of funding, most of it from the federal NSERC program (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council) and matching money from the Canadian swine industry.
The program will train up to ten undergraduate students, two master’s students, three PhDs and two post-doctoral fellows.
More information on this story can be found at https://news.usask.ca/articles/research/2018/u-of-s-researcher-awarded-2-million-to-study-swine-welfare—.php