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Behavior and Welfare of Undocked Heavy Pigs Raised in Buildings with Different Ventilation Systems

Department of Agricultural and Agri-Food Sciences and Technologies, University of Bologna, 40127 Bologna, Italy
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Academic Editor: Vera Baumans
Animals 2021, 11(8), 2338; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11082338
Received: 10 July 2021 / Revised: 30 July 2021 / Accepted: 5 August 2021 / Published: 8 August 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Welfare)
The relationship between animal welfare and housing conditions is still a matter of debate. The present study aimed to evaluate animal welfare of undocked heavy pigs from the same farm, raised in buildings with different ventilation systems, i.e., mechanical and natural, throughout the fattening period (90–160 kg average weight). Ventilation efficiency was evaluated using computational fluid dynamics. Results showed that overall pigs raised in the mechanical ventilated building were in a more positive affective state. Despite that, with hot temperatures, the higher occurrence of pig soiling indicated heat stress and consequent welfare impairment. The higher frequencies of dog sitting behavior also indicated worsening of welfare conditions in the middle–late phases of fattening, likely imputable to the lack of stimuli and boredom in the pigs.
The present study aimed to evaluate animal welfare of pigs from the same farm, raised with two ventilation systems. The study involved 60 pens of fattening pigs, raised in two buildings: one naturally ventilated (NV) and the other mechanically ventilated (MV). Pigs were assessed on three observation days: at 40 kg (T1), 100 kg (T2), and 160 kg (T3) of live weight. Animal-based measures were used such as qualitative behavioral analysis (QBA), behavioral measures (BMs), and lesion and health measures (LHMs). Housing conditions (HCs) measured at each observation day were the number of pigs per pen, space allowance, temperature, light, and CO2. The association study was performed using a general linear model and analysis of variance. Ventilation effect was analyzed by performing computational fluid dynamics. Results showed that overall pigs raised in the MV were in a more positive affective state. Despite that, with hot temperatures, the higher occurrence of pig soiling indicated heat stress in pigs and consequent welfare impairment. The higher frequency of pigs showing dog sitting behavior at T2 and T3 suggest welfare worsening in the last phases of fattening. The study concludes that ventilation system influences animal behavior and overall animal welfare, especially during the warmer season. View Full-Text
Keywords: animal behavior; animal welfare; computational fluid dynamics; housing conditions; undocked tail; heavy pigs; animal-based measure; ventilation systems; association study; qualitative behavioral assessment animal behavior; animal welfare; computational fluid dynamics; housing conditions; undocked tail; heavy pigs; animal-based measure; ventilation systems; association study; qualitative behavioral assessment
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MDPI and ACS Style

Vitali, M.; Santolini, E.; Bovo, M.; Tassinari, P.; Torreggiani, D.; Trevisi, P. Behavior and Welfare of Undocked Heavy Pigs Raised in Buildings with Different Ventilation Systems. Animals 2021, 11, 2338. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11082338

AMA Style

Vitali M, Santolini E, Bovo M, Tassinari P, Torreggiani D, Trevisi P. Behavior and Welfare of Undocked Heavy Pigs Raised in Buildings with Different Ventilation Systems. Animals. 2021; 11(8):2338. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11082338

Chicago/Turabian Style

Vitali, Marika, Enrica Santolini, Marco Bovo, Patrizia Tassinari, Daniele Torreggiani, and Paolo Trevisi. 2021. "Behavior and Welfare of Undocked Heavy Pigs Raised in Buildings with Different Ventilation Systems" Animals 11, no. 8: 2338. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11082338

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