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Test-retest reliability of the Welfare Quality animal welfare assessment protocol for growing pigs

By I. Czycholl, C. Kniese, K. Buttner, E. G. Beilage, L. Schrader, J. Krieter

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The aim of this study was to assess the feasibility and test-retest reliability of the Welfare Quality Animal Welfare Assessment Protocol for Growing Pigs. Twenty-three German pig farms were visited repeatedly by the same trained observers; each farm being visited six times during two fattening periods. The entire protocol assessment was carried out during each farm visit, ie a Qualitative Behaviour Assessment (QBA), behavioural observations (BO), a Human Animal Relationship test (HAR) and different individual parameters (IPs), eg bursitis and tail-biting. Test-retest reliability was evaluated by a Wilcoxon signed rank test (W) and by calculation of the Smallest Detectable Change (SDC) and Limits of Agreement (LoA). The QBA presented non-satisfactory agreement between farm visits. However, good agreement, in general, was found for the BO. For the HAR, no reliability could be detected. Most IPs were of acceptable agreement, with the exception of bursitis and manure on the body. Bursitis showed great differences, which can be explained by difficulties in the assessment when the animals moved around or their legs were dirty. The disagreement in the parameter manure on the body can be explained by seasonal effects. Disagreement was further found concerning the parameters coughing, sneezing, pleuritis, pneumonia and milkspots. Feasibility was good; both observers could be well-trained to fulfil the protocol. Furthermore, the time needed for an assessment did not exceed 6 h. The parts of the protocol that proved to be insufficiently reliable need to be addressed in the future in order to enhance and improve the objective measurement of animal welfare.

Publication Title Animal Welfare
Volume 25
Issue 4
Pages 447-459
ISBN/ISSN 0962-7286
DOI 10.7120/09627286.25.4.447
Language English
Author Address Institute of Animal Breeding and Husbandry, Christian-Albrechts-University, Olshausenstr 40, D-24098 Kiel,
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Agriculture
  2. Animal husbandry
  3. Animal nutrition
  4. Animals
  5. Animal welfare
  6. Arthropods
  7. Bursitis
  8. Chemicals
  9. Diseases and injuries of animals
  10. Ecology
  11. Effect
  12. Feasibility
  13. Fertilizers
  14. Finishing
  15. Infections
  16. Insects
  17. intellectual property
  18. Invertebrates
  19. Livestock farming
  20. Mammals
  21. Manures
  22. Meat animals
  23. Nutrition
  24. pig farming
  25. Pigs
  26. Pneumonia
  27. seasons
  28. Suiformes
  29. ungulates
  30. vertebrates
  31. Veterinary sciences
  32. wastes