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Physiological and behavioural indicators of positive animal welfare in pigs

Marcet Rius, Miriam. Physiological and behavioural indicators of positive animal welfare in pigs. PhD, Pathologie, Toxicologie, Génétique et Nutrition, Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse, 2019

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The first step for ensuring a good quality of life for farm animals may be the ability to assess their welfare correctly. To do this, not only is it essential to include the detection of welfare problems but it is also essential to detect positive welfare states, such as the emission of positive emotions. The ability to measure the appearance of negative emotions is important, and positive animal welfare should also include frequent emissions of positive emotions and less frequent emissions of negative ones. Therefore, the presence of positive and negative emotions should be included in animal welfare assessments, and not only their physical health but also their mental health should be considered. Currently, few indicators of emotions exist, and such indicators are essential to better understand the adaptation or not of several husbandry practices in current production systems. Furthermore, the few existing indicators or measures are not always feasible and objective to evaluate. Therefore, research identifying new indicators of positive welfare, more specifically, indicators that reflect emotional responses, is needed. Thus, the present work mainly aimed at investigating potential physiological and behavioural measures of positive animal welfare. For this investigation, we conducted five studies: four with mini-pigs and one with domestic commercial pigs. The four studies with mini-pigs were performed in an experimental setting, whereas the last study was performed under farm conditions. In each study, a positive situation was created for the animals according to the literature as well as a control situation, and several measurements were taken to compare both groups. This work provides many interesting results about the potential physiological and behavioural indicators of welfare that could be used to improve current welfare assessments of pigs. The present behavioural indicators are important because they provide measures that are feasible. Furthermore, this work provides further knowledge of the real state of animals and a better understanding of their emotions. This work also provides information about different types of enrichment materials, which could help stockpersons and others who provide for and manage pigs find adequate material for enrichment. Finally, this work is an example of the way many different sciences, such as physiology, ethology and welfare, among others, can be linked to scientifically describe the state of animals in a specific context

Item Type:PhD Thesis
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Institution:Université de Toulouse > Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse - Toulouse INP (FRANCE)
Laboratory name:
Research Director:
Pageat, Patrick and Cozzi, Alessandro
Deposited On:13 Feb 2020 08:26

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