Acceptance and feasibility of a guideline for the animal welfare assessment of fattening pigs from farmers' point of view

Pfeifer, Mareike GND; Koch, Alexandra; Lensches, Clara; Schmitt, Armin Otto; Hessel, Engel Friederike GND

The welfare of farm animals is being increasingly discussed in society and politics. To evaluate animal welfare, indicator systems are often used. Such a system has been developed by the German Association for Technology and Structures in Agriculture and suggested in the publication “Animal Welfare Indicators: Practical Guide—Pigs”. The association’s aim is to provide farmers with a useful method for recording the welfare of pigs. Crucial for the acceptance of the guide by farmers is a high degree of feasibility of the recommended indicators as well as the proposed methods for their recording. To evaluate this, 40 farmers keeping fattening pigs were interviewed. The guided semi-structured interview was conducted on the farms after the farmers evaluated the welfare of their fattening pigs according to the guide. The results are: Apart from the indicators faecal soiling and tail length, all the other eleven indicators are accepted for the assessment of fattening pig welfare by a majority of the interviewed farmers (between 57.5% and 90% acceptance per indicator). Furthermore, the feasibility of the individual indicators was assessed as being positive. The relationship between time expenditure and benefit was rated on a five-point scale at an average of 3.1 (medium), which clearly shows that there is a need for further development of this guide. Some possible changes with a potential for improvement could be identified; for example, the aggregation of the results after the collection of the individual indicators to an overall result that can be compared and interpreted.

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Pfeifer, Mareike / Koch, Alexandra / Lensches, Clara / et al: Acceptance and feasibility of a guideline for the animal welfare assessment of fattening pigs from farmers' point of view. 2020.

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