The Australian Pork Research Institute Limited (APRIL), SunPork Solutions, as well several Universities were among the organisations to support the AU$900,000 grant to fund the ‘Early stress experiences and stress resilience in pigs’ initiative.
The funds include $450,000, with an additional $449,393 from other partners, of which $100,000 was from APRIL.
The project will examine stress resilience in pigs and generate knowledge on early life management.
APRIL CEO John Pluske described the grant as “significant”, adding it would improve the “hot button” issue of pig welfare in the Australian pork industry.
“It marks the first instance of APRIL, on behalf of its members, successfully leveraging external funding for a major research project of industry-wide relevance,” said Pluske. “APRIL’s vision is for collaborative pork industry research, focused on industry-led priorities, leading to timely generation and adoption of outcomes able to ensure the sustainability and profitability of Australasian pork producers.”
He added: “This project, backed by international collaboration, will have a global impact on new knowledge and improved husbandry.”
University of Melbourne Professor Paul Hemsworth, who heads up its Animal Welfare Science Centre, said the project would benefit pigs’ welfare, health, productivity and farm profitability.
“Modern pig farming is a major source of food, providing substantial nutritional, social and economic benefits for Australia and the world,” said Hemsworth. “Animal welfare is of increasing concern to the public, consumers and pork producers and stress vulnerability is an animal health and production problem in the life of the commercial pig.”