£2m awarded to research UK pig industry resilience

A team of UK researchers has been awarded just over £2 million to explore the impact of intensification and future changes on UK pig industry resilience.

Operating under the project title of PIGSustain, the research is to be carried out by the University of Lincoln’s Dr Lisa Collins, working in collaboration with researchers from the University of Reading, University of Leeds and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

The funding is part of a £9m release by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) covering five separate projects, all designed to help increase the resilience of UK food systems.

“The research looks to optimise resilience, productivity and sustainability across the food system, ensure resilient supply chains and influence food choices to relieve pressure on global food systems,” said BBSRC.

“The five projects will focus specifically on increasing crop and livestock tolerance to weather, emerging diseases, price volatility and other environmental and social shocks and include the development of models that can be used by the food security community globally.”

UK Science Minister, Jo Johnson, commented: “From disease protection to improving the management of global food shocks, these research projects will help tackle the serious threat of food shortages. Supporting these exciting and innovative solutions will help the UK food industry be better prepared for external factors and help provide food security to millions around the world.”

Dr Collins (pictured above) previously received BBSRC funding, in 2013, to investigate the “development of validated cognitive and behavioural indicators of welfare in pigs towards an early warning predictive system” and funding from the Department for Employment and Learning, also in 2013, to examine “vocalisations as an indicator of welfare in pigs”.

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