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Animals 2013, 3(3), 923-934; doi:10.3390/ani3030923

Understanding Vocalization Might Help to Assess Stressful Conditions in Piglets

1,* , 2
1 Agricultural Engineering College, State University of Campinas, Ave. Candido Rondon, 501, Campinas, SP, 13083-875, Brazil 2 Embrapa Agricultural Informatics, Ave. André Tosello, 209, Campinas, SP, 13083-886, Brazil
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 2 August 2013 / Revised: 4 September 2013 / Accepted: 4 September 2013 / Published: 12 September 2013
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Assessing pigs’ welfare is one of the most challenging subjects in intensive pig farming. Animal vocalization analysis is a noninvasive procedure and may be used as a tool for assessing animal welfare status. The objective of this research was to identify stress conditions in piglets reared in farrowing pens through their vocalization. Vocal signals were collected from 40 animals under the following situations: normal (baseline), feeling cold, in pain, and feeling hunger. A unidirectional microphone positioned about 15 cm from the animals’ mouth was used for recording the acoustic signals. The microphone was connected to a digital recorder, where the signals were digitized at the 44,100 Hz frequency. The collected sounds were edited and analyzed. The J48 decision tree algorithm available at the Weka® data mining software was used for stress classification. It was possible to categorize diverse conditions from the piglets’ vocalization during the farrowing phase (pain, cold and hunger), with an accuracy rate of 81.12%. Results indicated that vocalization might be an effective welfare indicator, and it could be applied for assessing distress from pain, cold and hunger in farrowing piglets.
Keywords: animal welfare; pig farming; sound signals; classification algorithm animal welfare; pig farming; sound signals; classification algorithm
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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da Silva Cordeiro, A.F.; de Alencar Nääs, I.; Oliveira, S.R.M.; Violaro, F.; de Almeida, A.C.M.; Neves, D.P. Understanding Vocalization Might Help to Assess Stressful Conditions in Piglets. Animals 2013, 3, 923-934.

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