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Same pig, different conclusions: stakeholders differ in qualitative behaviour assessment

By N. Duijvesteijn, M. Benard, I. Reimert, I. Camerlink

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Animal welfare in pig production is frequently a topic of debate and is sensitive in nature. This debate is partly due to differences in values, forms, convictions, interests and knowledge among the stakeholders that constitute differences among their frames of reference with respect to pigs and their welfare. Differences in frames of reference by stakeholder groups are studied widely, but not specifically with respect to animal behaviour or welfare. We explored this phenomenon using a qualitative behaviour assessment (QBA). Participating stakeholders were classified into two expert groups consisting of pig farmers (N=11) and animal scientists (N=18) and a lay-group consisting of urban citizens (N=15). The stakeholders were asked to observe the behaviour of a specific pig in each of the nine videos and to assign a score for each video using 21 predefined terms describing the mood, such as 'happy' or 'irritated'. They were asked to complete two additional questionnaires to obtain information on their frames of reference. Results from the QBA showed that the pig farmers observed the behaviour of pigs more positively than the urban citizens and the animal scientists. This was evident from the consistently higher scores on the positive terms to assess pig behaviour. The questionnaires revealed that the farmers had a different frames of reference regarding pigs and different understanding of welfare, which might explain the differences in assessment. In a follow-up stakeholder workshop, which focussed on differences in observation, QBA showed to be an effective tool to stimulate mutual learning among stakeholders, which is necessary to find shared solutions.

Publication Title Journal of Agricultural & Environmental Ethics
Volume 27
Issue 6
Pages 1019-1047
ISBN/ISSN 0893-4282
Publisher Springer
DOI 10.1007/s10806-014-9513-z
Language English
Author Address TOPIGS Research Center IPG B.V., PO Box 43, 6640 AA Beuningen,
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Analysis
  2. Animal behavior
  3. Animal husbandry
  4. Animal production
  5. Animals
  6. Animal welfare
  7. Anthropology
  8. Assessment
  9. Behavior and behavior mechanisms
  10. Documentation
  11. Experts
  12. Information systems
  13. Mammals
  14. Meat animals
  15. opinions
  16. peer-reviewed
  17. pig farming
  18. Pigs
  19. Qualitative Research
  20. Social psychology and social anthropology
  21. Suiformes
  22. ungulates
  23. vertebrates
  1. peer-reviewed