Providing Effective Environmental Enrichment to Pigs: How Far Have We Come?
Cerebrus Associates Ltd., The White House, 2 Meadrow, Godalming, Surrey GU7 3HN, UK
World Animal Protection, 222 Grays Inn Road, 5th Floor, London WC1X 8HB, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 31 March 2019 / Revised: 13 May 2019 / Accepted: 15 May 2019 / Published: 21 May 2019
The welfare of farmed pigs can be improved by modifying their environment with bedding, substrates, or objects, so that they can perform more of their pig-specific behaviours. Scientific knowledge on effective enrichment for pigs is not necessarily reaching farms and this paper provides an overview of this issue in the three largest global pork producing regions. In the USA, enrichment has not yet appeared on farms, except when required by higher welfare farm schemes. China hardly has any animal welfare legislation and food safety concerns restrict the use of enrichment on farms. Providing pig enrichment is required by law in EU Member States. In practice, enrichment is not always present, or is unsuitable or inadequate. Other risks to animal welfare include inadequate presentation, location, quantity and size, and maintenance of enrichment. Improvements can be made by applying principles from other fields of behavioural science; welfare knowledge transfer and training to farms; highlighting the economic benefits of effective enrichment; increasing pressure from the financial sector; using novel drivers of change, such as public benchmarking. The poor implementation of scientific knowledge on farms suggests that the industry has not fully embraced the benefits of effective enrichment.