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Pig Farming in Alternative Systems: Strengths and Challenges in Terms of Animal Welfare, Biosecurity, Animal Health and Pork Safety

Epidémiologie des Maladies Animales Infectieuses (EPIMAI), Ecole nationale vétérinaire d’Alfort, Unité sous contrat Agence nationale de sécurité sanitaire de l’alimentation, de l’environnement et du travail (ANSES), 94700 Maisons-Alfort, France
Epidemiology Health and Welfare Research Unit, Ploufragan-Plouzané-Niort Laboratory, French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES), 22440 Ploufragan, France
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Agriculture 2020, 10(7), 261;
Received: 19 May 2020 / Revised: 29 June 2020 / Accepted: 29 June 2020 / Published: 2 July 2020
In pig production, the widespread conventional indoor system with a slatted floor currently dominates. However, this production system is becoming less socially acceptable. In addition to general environmental protection issues, animal welfare, the absence of suffering and distress, and the management of pain also constitute societal concerns. In this context, alternative production systems are gaining ground. Although they are popular with consumers and other citizens, these alternative systems have their critical points. Here, we reviewed the international scientific literature to establish the state of the art of current knowledge regarding welfare, biosecurity, animal health and pork safety in this type of farming system. In general, alternative farms give pigs the opportunity to express a broader range of behaviours than conventional farms. However, the management of feeding, watering, temperature and predators is often more complicated in these outdoor systems. In addition, biosecurity measures seem to be applied less strictly in alternative farms than in conventional farms, especially in free-range systems, where they are more difficult to implement. On the other hand, pigs kept in these farming systems seem to be less affected by respiratory diseases, but parasitism and piglet crushing (in farrowing units) both remain a real challenge. Furthermore, the higher prevalence of many zoonotic pathogens in these farms may represent a risk for human health. View Full-Text
Keywords: outdoor; free-range; organic; welfare; biosecurity; health; safety outdoor; free-range; organic; welfare; biosecurity; health; safety
MDPI and ACS Style

Delsart, M.; Pol, F.; Dufour, B.; Rose, N.; Fablet, C. Pig Farming in Alternative Systems: Strengths and Challenges in Terms of Animal Welfare, Biosecurity, Animal Health and Pork Safety. Agriculture 2020, 10, 261.

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