Review of housing options for gestating sows
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Housing options for gestating sows is an important topic affecting livestock producers, consumers, and policy makers. Producers seek to provide high quality products at affordable prices while meeting increasing public demands for animal wellbeing. Several studies have been conducted over the years to compare group and individual housing options for gestating sows. The object of this paper was to review these studies and to look specifically at the areas of animal wellbeing and economic impact of housing type. Several types of housing and feed management plans were examined from previous studies and the impact of housing type was explored. Overall, studies show that group housing can maintain animal wellbeing while still remaining economically feasible. Legislation has already been passed by the European Union to ban individual stalls starting in 2013. The future of gestation housing in the US pork industry is uncertain, but it appears that changes are coming quickly.