Comparison of Gaseous and Water-Based Medium-Expansion Foam Depopulation Methods in Cull Sows.
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The U.S. swine industry is currently inadequately prepared to counteract the increasing threat of high-consequence diseases. Although approved and preferred depopulation guidelines exist, ventilation shutdown (VSD+) is currently the only method being deployed during a state of emergency to depopulate large swine populations. However, the permitted use of VSD+ during constrained circumstances has been criticized due to raised swine welfare concerns. The objective of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of carbon dioxide gas (CO2), nitrogen gas (N2), compressed air foam (CAF), compressed nitrogen foam (CAF-N2) and aspirated foam (AF) during a 15-min dwell time on adult swine in an emergency depopulation situation. A small-scale trial using 12 sows per depopulation method showed the highest efficiency to induce cessation of movement for AF and CO2 (186.0 48 vs. 202.0 41, s SD). The ease of implementation and safety favored AF for further investigation. A large-scale field study using AF to depopulate 134 sows in modified rendering trailers showed a mean fill time of 103.8 s (SD: 5.0 s) and cessation of movement of 128.0 s (SD: 18.6 s) post filling. All sows were confirmed dead post-treatment for both trials. The implementation of AF in modified rendering trailers may allow for a safe and reliable method that allows for the expedient and mobile depopulation of both small and large numbers of sows during an emergency.