The course “Sustainable Pig Production” (MSc, 5 ECTS, spring 2016) is a venture between The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (prime organizer Department of Biosystems and Technology, Alnarp, Sweden), Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Estonian University of Life Sciences, Latvian Agricultural University, Lithuanian Veterinary Academy, and Lithuanian Agricultural University.
The course is primarily intended for Nordic and Baltic university students in animal science/veterinary medicine. We see similar challenges for pig production in most of the Nordic countries as in the Baltic countries: structural problems, the need for increased efficiency, sustainability, quality, and global competition. One aim of the course is to get a consensus about the challenges and to discuss differences in conditions and possibilities within the different countries.
The expression “a sustainable development” can be defined in many ways and different stakeholders (companies, governments and individuals) have their own definitions. Also within different science disciplines the interpretations are diverse. The origin of the expression can be found in the Brundtland Report, published by United Nations in 1987. Nowadays we talk about the three “pillars” of sustainability and then we mean economic viability, environmental benefits and social acceptability.
The main contents in the course concern pig behavior and welfare, nutrition and feeding, management, health and disease problems, housing, animal flow, environmental impact and regulations in different EU- countries. Goal conflicts between the different pillars of sustainability will be explored and discussed. This will be done based on varying study visits carried out in the course (small and large as well as conventional and organic pig farms). The students have to discuss, evaluate and argue for what they think is the most important variables in a sustainable pig production. In their group assignment they have to work in groups, with participants from different countries, and plan for what the students think is a sustainable pig production. The group works will be presented at seminars, in which the students have to present and defend their work.
The course will consist of one intensive week at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Alnarp, Sweden, and a similar week at the Estonian University of Agriculture (EMU), Tartu, Estonia, with home studies in between. The course includes lectures, group discussions, study visits, seminars, group and individual assignments, student presentations, social events etc. The home studies include reading literature and working with a group assignment that will be presented during the second intensive week. All teaching and literature will be in English.
At the end of this course the students:
- are aware of the definition of the expression “sustainability” and how this is interpreted by different stakeholders
- are aware of differences between conventional and organic pig production in the Nordic countries and how these differences influence sustainability of a pig farm
- are aware of how regulations are interpreted differently in the Nordic countries
- are able to understand how production level, housing systems, health and management, animal flow e t c influence the environmental impact of pig production
- are able to apply the gained knowledge, insights and practices into the design/development of pig production systems
- are able to identify and develop plans to improve the environmental impacts of pig production
- 10 hours seminar
- 60 hours lecture
- 60 hours independent work
- 20 hours study visits
Knowledge equivalent to 120 credits including 90 credits within animal science, agricultural science, veterinary medicine or biology and English B.
Admission for NOVA courses is handled locally by the course organiser/ the NOVA member institution organising the course. Please see the links in the margin for more information.