Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Barn Called CAFO **Part Four**

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV) individual housing has its advantages. By utilizing a stall system large enough for one sow it minimizes aggression and injury, reduces competition for resources, allows individual feeding, which assists in controlling body condition, and provides safety for the workers. The disadvantages, however, are restriction of movement, exercise, and foraging behaviors and it limits social interaction.

Some sow barns utilize group housing. This type of housing allows freedom of movement, exercise, and social interaction; however, gestating sows tend to be aggressive when around others which leads to injuries for both sows and workers. Also, without individual feeding swine have uneven and in some cases unhealthy body conditions. It would be nice to keep pigs in slop-filled pastures, keeping with that 1930’s picturesque farm scene but the acreage just isn’t there.

With a concentration of this many animals in one building waste management is a concern. One small barn of only 1,200 head produces more than 1,500 gallons of waste per day. With more waste than pigs, consumers’ rising concerns for environmental safety, and concerns for reducing our carbon footprint it is obvious why consumers are concerned. These facilities, which store so much waste, must be pollution havens; not to mention, have an enormous carbon footprint. Actually, they don’t.

To Be Continued...

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