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Social Support in a Novel Situation Aimed for Stunning and Euthanasia of Pigs May Be Increased by Familiar Pigs—A Behavioural Study with Weaners
RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, Bioeconomy and Health, Agriculture and Food. SLU Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden; Linköping University, Sweden.
SLU Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden.
RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, Bioeconomy and Health, Agriculture and Food.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3748-3918
2023 (English)In: Animals, E-ISSN 2076-2615, Vol. 13, no 3, article id 481Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The common method of stunning pigs using high concentration carbon dioxide prior to slaughter poses an animal welfare issue, as the gas is aversive. Proof of concept for using nitrogen gas encapsulated in high-expansion foam as an alternative non-aversive method for stunning pigs has recently been presented. However, the individually tested pigs showed distress-related responses to foam exposure, regardless of whether it was nitrogen- or air-filled. This study examined the effect of companionship from a familiar or unfamiliar pig on behaviours in 72 nine-weeks old pigs during exposure to air-filled foam. Escape attempts were observed by 75% of solitary pigs, 42% of pigs with unfamiliar conspecifics, and 33% of pigs with familiar conspecifics. Familiar pig pairs clearly preferred social contact during foam exposure, whereas this was not as clear in unfamiliar pig pairs, and their motivation for social contact could have multiple explanations. The results from this study highlight the importance of contact with conspecifics when studying animal welfare and suggest that familiarity between pigs is important for social support, thus emphasizing the importance of maintaining social groups to reduce distress in pigs at slaughter. © 2023 by the authors.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
MDPI , 2023. Vol. 13, no 3, article id 481
Keywords [en]
animal welfare, companionship, foam, slaughter, social behaviour, swine, animal experiment, Article, behavior assessment, controlled study, euthanasia, locomotion, nonhuman, pig, slaughtering, social behavior, social group, social support, weaner
National Category
Animal and Dairy Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ri:diva-64104DOI: 10.3390/ani13030481Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85147720330OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ri-64104DiVA, id: diva2:1739976
Note

Correspondence Address: Lindahl C, RISE, Sweden; email: cecilia.lindahl@ri.se; Tradenames: GoPro, San Mateo, United States; Manufacturers: San Mateo, United States

Available from: 2023-02-28 Created: 2023-02-28 Last updated: 2024-01-17Bibliographically approved

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