A systematic approach to supporting practical decision making regarding environmental enrichment for pigs

M.B.M. Bracke, J.J. Zonderland, H. Hopster, H.M. Vermeer, W.G.P. Schouten

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingAbstract


    The EC directive regarding minimum standards for the protection of pigs (2001/93/EG) states that: "Pigs must have permanent access to a suffi cient quantity of material to enable proper investigation and manipulation activities, such as straw, hay, wood, sawdust, mushroom compost, peat or a mixture of such, which does not compromise the health of the animals". Implementation of this directive into practise requires farmers and policy makers to decide whether materials such as a chain, a plastic ball, a piece of hardwood or artifi cial plastic tails meet the objective of allowing proper investigation and manipulation activities. In order to support the decision-making process we conducted a literature review (number of references > 40), elicited expert opinion (n>50) and started to systematically log and analyse the relationships between materials, material properties and welfare indicators. The preliminary results confi rm that providing a metal chain is certainly not suffi cient (86% agreement) while the provision of loose, unchopped straw generates considerable credits (`straw` received 75% agreement). More importantly, however, the evidence is building up that it is possible to formalise the `translation` from available scientifi c results into an index or other support-tool, which policy makers and farmers can use to make the required practical decisions. Critical evaluation from the international scientifi c community is recognised as a critical success-factor for the proposed methodology and its implementation to support decision-making concerning environmental enrichment for pigs and other animal welfare problems.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the 38th International congress of the ISAE, 3-8 August 2004, Helsinki
    Place of PublicationHelsinki
    Publication statusPublished - 2004
    EventThe 38th congress of the ISAE -
    Duration: 3 Aug 20047 Aug 2004


    ConferenceThe 38th congress of the ISAE


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