Precision Livestock Farming in Swine Welfare: A Review for Swine Practitioners
Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, 736 Wilson Rd, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of Engineering, Michigan State University, 428 S Shaw Ln, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 7 March 2019 / Revised: 22 March 2019 / Accepted: 25 March 2019 / Published: 31 March 2019
The increasing implementation of technological advances originally developed for video gaming (PlayStation, Xbox) is helping to progress livestock production so that it is both more efficient and more focused on the welfare of the animals. Such advances are necessary to ensure that innovations can emerge from applications using cameras, microphones and sensors to enhance the farmers’ eyes, ears and nose in everyday farming. This technology for remote monitoring of livestock, termed precision livestock farming, is the ability to automatically track individual livestock in real time. The goal of this review is to apprise swine veterinarians and their clientele on precision livestock farming with a general introduction to the technology available, a review of research and commercially available technology and the implications and opportunities for swine practitioners and farmers. Drawing from pig welfare criteria in the Common Swine Industry Audit, this review explains how these applications can be used to improve swine welfare within current pork production stakeholder expectations. Swine veterinarians and specialists, by virtue of their animal advocacy role, interpretation of benchmarking data, and stewardship in regulatory and commodity programs, can play a broader role in facilitating the transfer of precision livestock farming and technology to their clients.