Objective—To measure economic impacts attributable
to the mortality rate for suckling pigs in the
Design—Economic analysis that incorporated data
from various sources.
Sample Population—Suckling pigs on US swine farms.
Procedure—Economic impacts associated with the
mortality rate for suckling pigs during 1995 were estimated
from supply-and-demand curves for pork and
from an estimate of the elasticity of production for
pigs entering the grower-finisher phase of production.
Results—A decrease in the mortality rate for suckling
pigs would have caused an increase in pork production
and a decrease in price and total value of production.
Assuming no suckling pigs had died during
1995, consumer surplus would have increased by
(mean ± SE) $430 ± $160 million, whereas producer
surplus would have decreased by $180 ± $140 million.
The total gain to the US economy would have been
$250 ± $30 million.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Researchers
who attempt to estimate the economic impact of
mortality and morbidity rates of livestock should not
ignore the influence of demand and the possibility of
price adjustments. Consumers would stand to benefit
from an increase in pork production associated
with a reduction in the mortality rate for suckling pigs,
whereas the swine industry would experience an
economic loss. Individual producers need to compare
the costs of measures intended to reduce the mortality
rate for suckling pigs with the anticipated benefits.
(J Am Vet Med Assoc 2005;227:896–902)