Modified wean-to-finish mat as an alternative handling tool for moving grow-finish pig cadavers: A pilot study

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Akin, Ella
Ross, Jason
Millman, Suzanne
Jass, Cassandra
Stinn, John
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Johnson, Anna
Professor Animal Behavior and Welfare
Stalder, Kenneth
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Animal Science

The Department of Animal Science originally concerned itself with teaching the selection, breeding, feeding and care of livestock. Today it continues this study of the symbiotic relationship between animals and humans, with practical focuses on agribusiness, science, and animal management.

The Department of Animal Husbandry was established in 1898. The name of the department was changed to the Department of Animal Science in 1962. The Department of Poultry Science was merged into the department in 1971.

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Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine
The mission of VDPAM is to educate current and future food animal veterinarians, population medicine scientists and stakeholders by increasing our understanding of issues that impact the health, productivity and well-being of food and fiber producing animals; developing innovative solutions for animal health and food safety; and providing the highest quality, most comprehensive clinical practice and diagnostic services. Our department is made up of highly trained specialists who span a wide range of veterinary disciplines and species interests. We have faculty of all ranks with expertise in diagnostics, medicine, surgery, pathology, microbiology, epidemiology, public health, and production medicine. Most have earned certification from specialty boards. Dozens of additional scientists and laboratory technicians support the research and service components of our department.
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Through the National Pork Board, the US pork industry provides recommendations for humane handling tools and acceptable non-ambulatory pig handling methods. While these recommendations are useful, there is a lack of published evidence regarding the efficacy of humane handling tools commercially available for moving non-ambulatory pigs. Wean-to-finish mats are commonly used on-farm to provide comfortable resting areas for newly weaned pigs and to minimize feed waste around feeders. The objective of this project was to test a commercial wean-to-finish mat as a humane handling tool for non-ambulatory grow-finish pigs. On-farm testing was accomplished using pig cadavers (n = 3; 135, 118, and 68 kg) to evaluate mat effectiveness based on employee effort and preference. Our results do not support wean-to-finish mats as effective handling tools for moving non-ambulatory grow-finish pigs.


This article is published as Akin EE, Johnson AK, Ross JW, et al. Modified wean-to-finish mat as an alternative handling tool for moving grow-finish pig cadavers: A pilot study. J Swine Health Prod. 2019;27(5):278-283. Posted with permission.

Tue Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2019