看国外 | 美国:遗传技术或可改善生猪福利

看国外 2018-12-21 13:06:18

来源:Pig Progress

Pig welfare might be improved by using genetic techniques, according to research at the University of Pennsylvania, United States.

根据美国宾夕法尼亚大学的研究,利用遗传技术或许可以改善生猪福利。

In the United States, pressure is rising to improve the welfare of pigs in swine farms. That is why the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) has been looking for ways to objectively measure the level animal welfare. The university is hoping that in that way, it is easier to debate issues with societal organisations. Key tool in the university’s approach: genetic techniques.

美国养猪场正在面临越来越多的压力,来自于社会各界对于改善生猪福利的需求。这就是为什么宾夕法尼亚大学(UPenn)一直在寻找客观衡量动物福利水平的方法。该学校希望通过这种方式,与社会组织讨论问题时更加容易。这种方法的关键工具:遗传技术。

Measuring cortisol levels is not enough

测量皮质醇水平是不够的

The 4-year research is being done at the university’s trial farm in Kennett Square, PA, at about 50 km west of Philadelphia. It is just not accurate enough to measure the levels of stress hormone cortisol in blood, stated associate Prof Thomas D. Parsons, specialised in swine production medicine.

这项为期4年的研究正在该大学位于宾夕法尼亚州肯尼特广场试验农场进行,距离费城以西约50公里处。专业从事猪生产医学的Thomas D. Parsons教授表示,测量血液中的应激激素皮质醇水平是不够准确的。

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Where are the telomeres located on a chromosome?

端粒位于染色体上的哪个位置?

He explained, “That is why we have just started a research to telomeres. Those are amino acids at the extremes of each chromosome. When humans or animals age, the telomeres tend to become shorter. Moments of stress do accelerate this shortening. What we will do is continuously measure the length of telomeres during a pig’s life. That way we hope to figure out which circumstances yield the least amount of stress. We hope that this will lead to a method to objectively measure animal welfare.”

他解释说,“这就是我们开始研究端粒的原因。端粒是每条染色体末端的氨基酸。当人类或动物衰老时,端粒往往变短。发生应激的时候确实加速了这种缩短。我们要做的是不断测量猪生命期间端粒的长度,希望以此找出哪种情况造成的应激最小。我们希望这可以成为一种客观衡量动物福利的方法。”

A link between telomeres and stress in birds

鸟类端粒与应激之间的联系

In birds, a clear relationship is existing between the length of telomeres and stress levels. Prof Parsons said, “In case we can also demonstrate this in pigs, it will provide more tangible proof in all discussions around animal welfare. These days often these discussions are often based on what might be nice for swine.”

在鸟类中,端粒长度与应激水平之间存在明显的关系。Parsons教授说:“如果我们也可以在猪身上证明这一点,它将在所有围绕动物福利展开的讨论中提供更切实的证据。目前,这些讨论通常都是关于什么对猪有好处。”

In the United States, the animal welfare debate started to catch on just before the year 2000, when gradually opposition against sow stalls started to grow. For that reason, in 1998, the university constructed the trial facility to research sow and piglet housing. Prof Parsons: “As academics, we wanted to be ahead of developments which US sow breeders might meet in the future. We would like to help them to switch to housing systems with more liberty.”

在美国,关于动物福利的讨论在2000年之前开始流行起来,当时母猪定位栏开始受到越来越多反对。因此,1998年,该大学建立了研究母猪和仔猪住房的试验设施。Parsons教授:“作为学者,我们希望走在前沿,摸索出美国母猪育种者未来可能遇到的新情况。我们希望帮助他们转变为拥有更多活动空间的猪舍。”

Trial facility with group housing for sows

母猪群养试验设施

The trial facility consists of a group housing system for gestating sows. Part of this facility has a straw bedding. Parsons stated that quite a number of sows prefer the concrete floor above the straw bedding. He said, “Apparently there are other factors determining where sows prefer to lay down.”

试验设施包括用于妊娠母猪的群养系统,部分铺有稻草垫料。Parsons教授表示,相当多的母猪喜欢呆在混凝土地板上。他说,“显然还有其他因素决定了母猪喜欢躺在哪里。”

One factor might be social hierarchy, which is why the trial unit aims to determine whether it is possible to objectively determine a pig’s character.

一个因素可能是社会等级,这也是设置试验组的原因,来确定是否有可能客观判断猪的性格。

The importance of the telomere research

端粒研究的重要性

Prof Parsons commented: “That way it is possible to place sows with each other that actually match best. Of course this will give practical problems, but perhaps it will give more insight into sows’ natural behaviour. 

Some sows simply turn out not to be able to function well in groups. We also measure animal welfare using pedometers. Even that is not a completely reliable indication. Exactly that is why the telomere research might help us to make the next step towards a higher animal welfare. After all, also in the US pork producers will face that.”

Parsons教授评论说:“这样就可以把合得来的母猪养在一起。当然这会给实际操作带来问题,但也许会让人更深入地了解母猪的自然行为。有些母猪只是在群体中不能很好地表现天性。我们还使用计步器来衡量动物福利,即使这个指标并非完全可靠。而这正式为什么端粒研究可能有助于我们进一步提高动物福利。毕竟,在美国,猪肉生产商也将面临同样的情况。”

(文/爱猪网记者刘坤颖编译,爱猪网原创请勿转载)


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