Defra - Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Science Search

Science and Research Projects

Return to Science Search homepage   Return to Project List

Using Generalised Innate Immunity to Enhance Pig Health and Welfare - LK0649

This project aims to find solutions to issues facing Defra and problems facing the British pig industry, relating to pig health status and performance, using measurements of generalised innate immunity.Generalised immunity addresses the consequences of sub-clinical infections on pig health and pig perfomance. Recently completed research has shown that two measures of generalised innate immunity are particularily important: (i) white blood cell numbers are genetically related to efficiency and (ii) the proportions of lymphocyte phenotypes are predictive of performance under commercial conditions. Using these two results the project has the following objectives (1) to verify the predicitive use of generalised immunity within breeding company herds'(2) to quantify the value and implications of generalised immunity measurements in pig herd health monitoring. Objective 1 will measure generalised immunity of boars in commercial breeding nuclei, and verify the measurements by means of progeny test results from selected boars under conditions of lower health status. Objective 2 will relate start-, mid- and end-of-test measures of generalised immunity to comprehensive performance and health status measurements taken as part of the MLC's "Finishing Pigs - System Research" programme, at the Stotfold Pig Development Unit. Deliverables from the project will include (i) reccomendations to pig breeding companies on the use of generalised immunity to the pig industry, and (iii) possible health monitoring protocols for commercial farms, utilizing generalised immunity measurements. Implementing the findings should lead to pigs with improved health status and performance, as well as decreased antibiotic requirements.
Project Documents
• Executive Summary : Using genralised innate immunity to enhance pig health and welfare   (3503k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2002

To: 2005

Cost: £146,127
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Pig Improvement Company UK Ltd, J.S.R. Healthbred Ltd, Roslin Institute, Edinburgh (BBSRC), Meat and Livestock Commission, Rattlerow Farms Ltd
Livestock Farming              
Sustainable Farming and Food