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  • 1. Dippel, S.
    et al.
    Leeb, C.
    Bochicchio, D.
    Bonde, M.
    Dietze, K.
    Gunnarsson, S.
    Lindgren, K.
    RISE, SP – Sveriges Tekniska Forskningsinstitut, JTI Institutet för Jordbruks- och Miljöteknik.
    Sundrum, A.
    Wiberg, S.
    Winckler, C.
    Prunier, A.
    Health and welfare of organic pigs in Europe assessed with animal-based parameters2014In: Organic Agriculture, ISSN 1879-4238, E-ISSN 1879-4246, Vol. 4, no 2, p. 149-161Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Organic pig farming aims at maintaining a high health and welfare state of the animals through appropriate housing, management and feeding. Better knowledge of health and welfare indicators should help to identify critical points and hence to improve health and welfare as well as performance of organic pigs. This paper describes the health and welfare of organic pigs from 101 farms across six EU countries, using selected animal-based parameters from the Welfare Quality® protocol. Parameters were collected in sows, suckling and weaned piglets in 3 to 20 farms per country. Their assessment was trained before farm visits and inter-observer agreement determined after farm visits. The most prevalent problems identified in sows were thinness (median farm prevalence 18.8 %, range 0–81.0), injuries on the anterior part of the body (15.5 %, 0–66.7), injuries on hind part of body (7.9 %, 0–50), obesity (4.9 %, 0–50.0) and vulva lesions (3.5 %, 0–42.9). In suckling piglets, the median prevalence in terms of groups affected per farm was 0 % for all parameters but ‘> 50 % dirty piglets in group’, for which it was 10 %. Farm prevalence ranged from 0 to 100 % for ‘≥ 1 lame piglet in group’, presence of diarrhoea, and ‘> 50 % dirty piglets in group’. In weaned piglets, the median prevalence in terms of groups affected per farm was 0 % with a range of 0 to 100 % for all parameters. Based on the collected data, body condition, skin and vulva lesions in sows, lameness, diarrhoea and respiratory problems in piglets could be used as management and welfare indicators, with good potential for enhancement through farm improvement schemes like herd health planning. However, some definitions could be improved, especially lameness, diarrhoea and respiratory problems in piglets.

  • 2.
    Lindgren, Kristina
    et al.
    RISE, SP – Sveriges Tekniska Forskningsinstitut, JTI Institutet för Jordbruks- och Miljöteknik.
    Bochicchio, D.
    Hegelund, L.
    Leeb, C.
    Mejer, H.
    Roepstorff, A.
    Sundrum, A.
    Animal health and welfare in production systems for organic fattening pigs2014In: Organic Agriculture, ISSN 1879-4238, E-ISSN 1879-4246, Vol. 4, no 2, p. 135-147Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    With the aim to identify European health and welfare strategies in organic pig production, we summarized information about health and welfare status and potential hazards for organic fattening pigs. The results were primarily based on studies of organic production or comparisons between organic and conventional production. Conventional Danish herds consumed three times as much antibiotics (anthelmintics not included) as the organic herds, whilst there was no difference in mortality rate nor more pigs in need of treatment in the organic herds. Slaughter data indicated that organic pigs had fewer respiratory problems, skin lesions (including abscesses and hernias) and tail wounds compared to conventional pigs. On the other hand, remarks because of joint lesions and white spot livers were more common among organic pigs. The risk of parasitic infections in organic fattening pigs has been confirmed. To control endoparasites, outdoor areas should be rotated with as long interval as possible, i.e. by including the pigs in the crop rotation. Outdoor housing with functional wallows and access to grass and roots or outdoor runs and roughage can enhance pig welfare and reduce pen-mate-directed oral activity and aggression. Minimizing negative environmental impact may conflict with animal welfare, i.e. raising the pigs indoors may not only reduce plant nutrient losses but also reduce the pigs’ activity options. With an increasing number of specialized organic units, implementation of age-segregated production and buying piglets from only one or few units is necessary to maintain a good health in transferred pigs.

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