Kieffer, J. D., Campler, M. R., Cheng, T.-Y. et al. 2022. Evaluation of a water-based medium-expansion foam depopulation method in suckling and finisher pigs. Animals 12(8), 1041.
The threat of foreign animal disease introduction through contaminated animal products, feed ingredients, and wildlife vectors have highlighted the need for additional approved methods for mass depopulation of swine under emergency scenarios, especially methods that can be applied to pigs across all production phases. The market disruption within the swine industry due to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has demonstrated this lack of preparation. The objective of this study was to validate water-based foam as a mass depopulation method for suckling (18 to 24 days of age) and finisher stage (63 to 100 days of age) pigs. Finisher pigs (n = 31, originally 32 but one finisher pig died prior to foaming), allocated as 9 triads and 1 set of 4 pigs, in 10 total replicates, and suckling pigs (n = 32), randomly allocated to two replicates, were completely covered in water-based medium-expansion foam for a 15-min dwell time in a bulk container. Container fill time for the trials were 6.5 ± 0.68 s and 5.3 ± 0.03 s for finisher and suckling pig replicates, respectively. Average (± SD) time for cessation of movement was 105 ± 39.1 s (s) for finisher pigs and 79.5 ± 10.5 s for suckling pigs. After completion of the 15-min dwell time in the foam, all pigs were confirmed dead upon removal from the container. The results from the present study suggest that the use of water-based foam can be an effective means of mass depopulation for suckling and finisher stage pigs, supporting previous research on the application to adult swine.