If the focus is to improve pig wellness and productivity, and if we know many of our pigs are cared for by Spanish-speaking employees, then employers need to ensure their training program and standard operating procedures are provided in a format they can understand.

Ideally, it is delivered in Spanish, says Lucina Galina, DVM, PhD, senior veterinarian, Pork Services and Solutions team, Pfizer Animal Health.   

“I have had a lot of experience discussing pig care with Spanish speakers,” she says. “In general, they want to know why they are being asked to do what they do and they want to know how to get tools to do their jobs more effectively.

“In my view, they are thirsty for knowledge,” she continues. “You cannot efficiently deliver this training by using standard operating procedures translated into Spanish or watching a video in Spanish. You need to provide an opportunity for them to discuss and ask questions. I support our training by delivering PQA Plus™ in Spanish, but managers are mesmerized by all the questions their employees ask me after the actual training.”

When Galina talks with Spanish-speaking employees, there is both a cultural and language connection. She often gets phone calls after a training session and employees want more information. She feels it would serve employers well to offer more graphic depictions of procedures and protocols.

“The Spanish-speaking population will continue to grow in the United States and this growth will be reflected in the pork industry, so we need to find better ways to deliver this information. The language barrier is a huge issue, and these employees must reach a level of trust and involvement so they feel comfortable communicating their questions and ideas,” she states. “After all, they look after our pigs every day and it is rewarding to see how excited they are to have that opportunity.”