ERJ staff report (LMH)
Dublin – Rubber slat mats could help protect swine from lameness, claw lesions and a range of other injuries, says a study printed in the Journal of Animal Science.
According to the European research, inappropriate flooring is a key factor in triggering a number of joint injuries and circulatory problems in swine.
However, sows kept on rubber slat mats had a reduced risk of scores, said Julia Calderón-Díaz, a PhD student at University College Dublin, the report’s author. Rubber slat mats also cut the risk of lameness and limb lesions, she added.
Sows showed a preference for resting on rubber compared to bare concrete, found Calderón-Díaz. Furthermore, the research revealed that rubber slat mats improved walking stability, which in turn cut the number of piglets crushed in farrowing crates during first lactation. Importantly, there was also less culling for lameness for sows kept on rubber.
The conditions under which pigs are kept are laid down in SI 311 of 2010, European Communities (Welfare of Farmed Animals) Regulations.
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News Release from American Society of Animal Science