Assessment of animal welfare on British pig farms
Research partners: Royal Veterinary College
Sponsors: AHDB Pork
Project duration: 2006 – 2009
Aims and objectives
- To assess the welfare of pigs on British farms
- To develop validated protocols for the assessment of pig welfare
- To train veterinary undergraduates in formal assessment of pig welfare
- To survey the welfare of pigs on British farms in an epidemiological study
- To identify risk factors for welfare under farm conditions using a validated, repeatable, reliable and objective method and enabling long-term trends in welfare to be established and goals set.
- The RVC Welfare Protocol (RVC WP) was developed along with a robust learning scheme for veterinary students
- RVC WP contained four sections, two animal-based (Group and Individual Animal Assessment) and two conventional (Resource Provision and Herd & Health factors)
- Using data from 194 placements on 117 farms housing 174,607 animals, with 3,880 assessed individually, four ‘pig-types’ exhibiting compromised welfare states were established
- Twenty-five percent of the study population was free of these indicators when assessed
- A benchmarking system was proposed, creating a tool for producers to facilitate the amelioration/elimination of compromised welfare.