HSUS Takes Issue with Method Used to Prevent PEDv

The Humane Society of the United States has released an undercover video of a Kentucky swine farm. Not only does HSUS again take aim at the use of gestation crates - the group also accuses the producer of breaking state law by feeding dead animals to mature females. But the practice of feedback is one hog farmers have used for decades to immunize sows through controlled exposure to a virus. By taking fecal or intestinal material from baby pigs that died due to illness and giving it orally to sows - the sow can then transfer antibodies against the virus to their babies through lactation. In this case - it's part of the effort to stem the spread of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus.

National Pork Board Vice President for Science and Technology Dr. Paul Sundberg says has been used successfully against other swine viruses since the mid-1900s. He says it's the only tool producers have to stimulate the immunity of the sow. Dr. Rodney Baker at the Iowa Pork Industry Center says it's the humane thing to do to reduce mortality since it's the only way to save a lot of pigs.

American Association of Swine Veterinarians Executive Director Dr. Tom Burkgren explains the procedure as speeding up the exposure that would occur naturally over time - providing a much better chance of protecting baby pigs. Sundberg adds that in the natural environment - wild hog sows and those raised outdoors will eat dead baby pigs on their own as a natural protection against virus.

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