Julie Morrow USDA

Resources Authored


Swine Stress and Pathogen Shedding

Publish Date: April 5, 2012

Meeting consumer concerns about food safety and animal welfare have been identified as key points for future livestock production. In particular, meat safety has emerged as an absolute but minimum requirement for the future success of livestock and meat production. There are pathogens in raw meat that have long been traced to farm animals and can cause human illness. In swine, these primarily include Salmonella and Campylobacter species (CDC, 2000). It has been established that modern housing and management practices (mixing, handling, isolation, transport, weaning) can be stressful under some circumstances and that stress may cause decreased well-being, reduced growth, and increased disease rates through immunosuppression (Kelley, 1980). A void in current knowledge exists in the cause and effect relationship between the animal’s response to stress and the shedding and transmission of these pathogens from food producing animals. There is also a lack of science demonstrating production practices that effectively decrease the likelihood of swine harboring these pathogens.

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