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Photo of Economic and welfare impact of lameness in sows in UK

Steve Dunkley

Head of Knowledge Exchange (Interim)

AHDB Pork KE

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Economic and welfare impact of lameness in sows in UK

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Research partners: Royal Veterinary College

Industrial partners: AHDB Pork

Duration: 2010-2011 

Aims and objectives

Lameness in pigs is a major welfare concern and one of the most commonly reported reasons for premature culling of breeding sows. In this study the prevalence of lameness in sows was estimated from 113 English pig breeding units and different risk factors associated with the occurrence of lameness were examined, followed by an assessment of the economic costs of lameness in sows. 

Findings

  • The prevalence of lameness in sows was 4.3% and at least one lame sow was observed at 50.4 % of the 113 farms
  • In both indoor and outdoor sows, the presence of a prevention plan for lameness at the farm significantly affected the occurrence of lameness
  • Farms with higher producing sows were more likely to have a prevalence of lameness of 5% or higher
  • When only indoor sows were considered, the odds of lameness occurring at the farm increased with the number of sows in the pen
  • Lameness was more likely to occur at farms where sows were housed on solid flooring than when they were kept on slatted or partly slatted flooring
  • Depending on the severity of the case, the estimated cost of an initial case of lameness could range from £19 to more than £266. 

Further information

Full report available on request: sue.wickham@ahdb.org.uk