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A combination of behavioral and physiological indicators for assessing pig welfare on the farm

By D. Candiani, G. Salamano, E. Mellia, L. Doglione, R. Bruno, M. Toussaint, E. Gruys

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The purpose of this research was to identify pig welfare indicators that could help in recognizing stressful practices on farm. The study evaluated behavioral and physiological indicators (cortisol and negative acute phase proteins) in 2 groups of 20 female pigs 4 months old after a 48-hr transport. The first group (A) was transported at the end of May, the second (B) in June. Behavioral observations and blood collection occurred at arrival (D1) and 28 days later (D28). Compared with within-animal control samples obtained 28 days later, pigs of Group A had increased cortisol levels and decreased albumin concentrations after arrival. As demonstrated by lesion and behavior observations, the effect on cortisol and albumin was higher in Group B pigs after a tail-biting episode occurred. The study has reported no evidence of Retinol Binding Protein (RBP) in pigs. A method developed for swine RBP quantification found RBP strongly reduced in D28 samples of Group B, confirming it to be a negative protein in pigs. The suggested combination of physiological and behavioral indicators could provide useful information on the welfare state of an animal.

Publication Title Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
Volume 11
Issue 1
Pages 1-13
ISBN/ISSN 1088-8705
Publisher Taylor & Francis
DOI 10.1080/10888700701729080
Language English
Author Address Department of Veterinary Morphophysiology, University of Turin, Turin,
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Acute disease
  2. Animal behavior
  3. Animal physiology
  4. Animal rights
  5. Animals
  6. Animal welfare
  7. Assessment
  8. Behavior and behavior mechanisms
  9. Cortisol
  10. Hydrocortisone
  11. Mammals
  12. Meat animals
  13. peer-reviewed
  14. Pigs
  15. proteins
  16. retinol
  17. Stress
  18. Stress response
  19. Suiformes
  20. Swine
  21. tails
  22. ungulates
  23. vertebrates
  24. vitamins
  1. peer-reviewed