I am currently a M.Sc. thesis student researching swine behaviour and welfare under the mentorship of Dr. Renee Bergeron here at the University of Guelph, and Dr. Luigi Faucitano, at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. I come from Eastern Ontario, near Ottawa, where at a young age I realized I enjoyed working with animals. During my summers, while I was completing my B.Sc. in BioMedical Science here at the University of Guelph, I worked at a pig farm. Throughout my time at the pig farm, I came to realize my enjoyment of working with swine. I began looking for opportunities to work with swine and was fortunate enough to volunteer with Dr. Bergeron where she influenced my scientific interest in swine behaviour and welfare.
My research is based on the idea that loading, transit, and unloading of pigs from farm to the abattoir is one of the most stressful events in a pig’s life. As a consequence of stress due to the transportation process, pigs can be found either dead or fatigued upon arrival to the slaughter plant, which is detrimental to the animal’s welfare and results in poor meat quality. Commercial Canadian trailers can result in decreased ease of handling and increased electrical prodding during loading and unloading as well as heat stress in transit due to poor ventilation. A new trailer, the Pezzaioli, has emerged equipped with fully hydraulic upper and middle decks that is hypothesized to reduce loading and unloading stress and electric prod usage. Additionally, the Pezzaioli is equipped with internal temperature sensors that can reduce heat stress through activation of water misters, fan-assisted ventilation, and adjustable rooftop compartment for improved ventilation. These additions to the Pezzaioli make it a potential alternative to commercial Canadian trailers by improving pig welfare and meat quality. Therefore, swine behaviour during loading and unloading, temperature of compartments, blood stress levels, and carcass meat quality will be evaluated. These observations will enable the comparison of the Pezzaioli to commercial trailers in Canadian conditions over short and long travel distances.
I currently work for Animal Biosciences as an Animal Care Attendant and the Central Animal Facility as a Research Animal Technician. Outside of academia, I enjoy spending time with animals, hiking, reading, and playing hockey, soccer, and baseball.