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Development of pig welfare assessment protocol integrating animal-, environment-, and management-based measures

  • Renggaman, Anriansyah (Department of Agriculture Biotechnology and Research Institute for Agriculture and Life Sciences, Seoul National University) ;
  • Choi, Hong L (Department of Agriculture Biotechnology and Research Institute for Agriculture and Life Sciences, Seoul National University) ;
  • Sudiarto, Sartika IA (Department of Agriculture Biotechnology and Research Institute for Agriculture and Life Sciences, Seoul National University) ;
  • Alasaarela, Laura (College of Veterinary Medicine, Seoul National University) ;
  • Nam, Ok S (Department of Agriculture Biotechnology and Research Institute for Agriculture and Life Sciences, Seoul National University)
  • Received : 2014.08.22
  • Accepted : 2014.11.20
  • Published : 2015.01.31

Abstract

Background: Due to increased interest in animal welfare, there is now a need for a comprehensive assessment protocol to be used in intensive pig farming systems. There are two current welfare assessment protocols for pigs: Welfare Quality$^{(R)}$ Assessment Protocols (applicable in the Europe Union), that mostly focuses on animal-based measures, and the Swine Welfare Assurance Program (applicable in the United States), that mostly focuses on management- and environment-based measures. In certain cases, however, animal-based measures might not be adequate for properly assessing pig welfare status. Similarly, welfare assessment that relies only on environment- and management-based measures might not represent the actual welfare status of pigs. Therefore, the objective of this paper was to develop a new welfare protocol by integrating animal-, environment-, and management-based measures. The background for selection of certain welfare criteria and modification of the scoring systems from existing welfare assessment protocols are described. Methods: The developed pig welfare assessment protocol consists of 17 criteria that are related to four main principles of welfare (good feeding, good housing, good health, and appropriate behavior). Good feeding, good housing, and good health were assessed using a 3-point scale: 0 (good welfare), 1 (moderate welfare), and 2 (poor welfare). In certain cases, only a 2-point scale was used: 0 (certain condition is present) or 2 (certain condition is absent). Appropriate behavior was assessed by scan sampling of positive and negative social behaviors based on qualitative behavior assessment and human-animal relationship tests. Results: Modification of the body condition score into a 3-point scale revealed pigs with a moderate body condition (score 1). Moreover, additional criteria such as feed quality confirmed that farms had moderate (score 1) or poor feed quality (score 2), especially those farms located in a high relative humidity region. Conclusions: The developed protocol can be utilized to assess welfare status in an intensive pig farming system. Although further improvements are still needed, this study is a first step in developing a pig welfare assessment protocol that combines animal-, environment-, and management-based measures.

Keywords

Animal welfare;Environment-based measure;Pig farming;Intensive farming system;Welfare assessment protocol

Acknowledgement

Supported by : Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs (MAFRA), Ministry of Industry, Energy, and Trade

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