Enrichment materials for intensively-farmed pigs – From review to preview

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingAbstract

Abstract

Tail biting is a well-known production disease in intensively-farmed pigs raising concern for animal welfare, e.g. related to the practice of routine tail docking. To reduce tail biting pigs are provided with enrichment materials. EU legislation requires that pigs have permanent access to a sufficient quantity of material to enable proper investigation and manipulation activities. In order to meet this directive many pigs are provided with a metal chain with or without a rather indestructible object attached to the chain. The European commission is
planning to revise current guidelines as to what constitutes adequate enrichment, apparently moving into the direction of the status-quo in welfare schemes. Building on extensive previous work at Wageningen UR Livestock Research, especially on the modelling of pig enrichment (the so-called RICHPIG model) a review is presented of our current state of knowledge. In addition, an outline is given as to how so-called AMI-sensors, measuring Animal-Material
Interactions (AMI) (semi-)automatically, can be used to assess the pig’s need for enrichment, also in relation to aspects associated with health status, such as feed restriction, biting wounds and streptococcus infection. It is suggested that the use of chains with or without rather indestructible materials such as pipes, balls or (hard)wood is generally inadequate to enrich the pens of intensively-farmed pigs. An evolutionary mechanism appears to be underlying the causation of multifactorial welfare problems in general, the issues of enrichment, tail biting
and tail docking in pigs in particular. In this respect ongoing selection for increased resource efficiency has been exterting a profound impact on livestock production. Various routes are explored as to how persistent welfare problems may be resolved, including a method that has been called Intelligent Natural Design (IND).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication16th International Conference on Production Diseases in Farm Animals
Subtitle of host publicationBook of abstracts
EditorsBas Kemp
Place of PublicationWageningen
Pages179
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Event16th International Conference on Production Diseases in Farm Animals - Wageningen University (Hof van Wageningen Conference Centre), Wageningen, Netherlands
Duration: 22 Jun 201623 Jun 2016
Conference number: 16
http://www.wageningenur.nl/en/activity/16th-International-Conference-on-Production-Diseases-in-Farm-Animals-.htm

Conference

Conference16th International Conference on Production Diseases in Farm Animals
Abbreviated titleICPD 2016
CountryNetherlands
CityWageningen
Period22/06/1623/06/16
Internet address

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