The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) released an undercover video this week showing video of a Kentucky swine farm allegedly violating state law feeding piglets to sows.
HSUS calls for USDA to examine the practice of feeding intestines and fecal matter of piglets to pigs. HSUS also says studies of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus show bigger pork production locations have higher rates of PEDV.
The National Pork Board Vice President for Science and Technology Dr. Paul Sundberg says the practice of feeding dead piglets to sows has been going on for decades. He says it works as an immunization. By feeding the intestines or fecal matter of piglets, sows can transfer antibodies against the virus to other piglets through milk.
American Association of Swine Veterinarian Executive Director Dr. Tom Burkgren says speeding up inevitable exposure gives a better chance of protecting piglets. He says wild hog sows naturally eat baby pigs to protect against viruses.
The PED virus does not affect human health, but currently has no vaccine to administer to swine.