The American Veterinary Medical Association Delegates approved a resolution on gestation sow housing at a recent meeting in Nashville, Tenn. Under the resolution, AVMA supports gestation sow-housing configurations that provide for appropriate care and environmental conditions for pregnant sows, and acknowledges that individual gestation stalls meet the outlined criteria. The resolution also recognizes the importance of proper stockmanship by caretakers in any sow housing system.

The resolution was prepared and submitted by AASV’s Pig Welfare Committee. About the resolution, David Madsen, AASV past-president, says the goal was to take the focus off of the public perception of gestation-stall housing, and rely on current science addressing the issue. “The intent was to determine if a body of scientists agrees that the science supports the use of gestation stalls,” he explains. “The resolution will provide an opportunity for current science to surpass public perception. This is not the end of the line, but it is a strong indication that scientists are willing to listen to the science.”

Madsen is hopeful that having the endorsement of the 65,000-member AVMA on this issue will help balance activists’ arguments to influence public opinion and pass restrictive legislation concerning the use of gestation-sow stalls. With its passage, the resolution becomes AVMA policy and can be used to support individuals and organizations addressing the gestation-sow housing issues. In addition, a list of additional reference citations is available upon request from the AASV office at (515) 465-5255, fax (515) 465-3832, or e-mail aasv@netins.net.

The AVMA resolution on “Pregnant-sow Housing” is as follows: “The American Veterinary Medical Association supports the use of sow housing configurations that…”

1. minimize aggression and competition between sows;
2. protect sows from detrimental effects associated with environmental extremes, particularly temperature extremes;
3. reduce exposure to hazards that result in injuries;
4. provide every animal with daily access to appropriate food and water; and
5. facilitate observation of individual sow appetite, respiratory rate, urination, defecation, and reproductive status by caretakers.

Current scientific literature indicates that gestation stalls meet each of the aforementioned criteria, provided the appropriate level of stockmanship is administered.

The American Veterinary Medical Association.