Computer Based AI Offers Cost Effective Insight into On Farm Animal Welfare at Slaughter

Mar 18, 2024

A professor with the University of Saskatchewan says the use of artificial intelligence to evaluate the condition of carcasses at slaughter offers a cost-effective option for evaluating animal welfare.

Researchers with the University of Saskatchewan's Western College of Veterinary Medicine and Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, with funding provided through the NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Swine Welfare research program, have developed an automated swine welfare assessment system consisting of a digital security camera and an artificial intelligence processor to evaluate lesions on carcasses at the abattoir.

Dr. Seokbum Ko, a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, says initial findings suggest this is a very cost-effective approach to gathering insight into on farm welfare and preslaughter handling.

Quote-Dr. Seokbum Ko-University of Saskatchewan:

The promising advancements made in this endeavor validate the potential scalability of this technology for widespread commercial implementation facilitating objective and measurable data collection in animal welfare assessments.Initially producers can utilize it to effortlessly gather information on their pigs during slaughter offering retrospective insights into on farm welfare and a foundation for welfare enhancements, thus potentially boosting economic returns through reduced condemnations and cutouts.

More over abattoirs can employ the tools to monitor their own preslaughter handling assessments.Additionally, pork organizations can leverage its data to advance farms nationwide fostering continuous improvement efforts.Furthermore, there is a potential to develop a premium scheme for producers meeting welfare targets aligning with both Canadian quality assurance standards and international trade agreement requirements.This multiple application of this technology can potentially enhance welfare standards and industry practices on various fronts.

Dr. Ko says the next step is to refine the computer models to ensure they deliver more precise results.

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