Article

Heritability of clinical tail-biting and its relation to performance traits

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Abstract

Clinical tail-biters were identified over a 12-month period at a commercial nucleus pig-breeding farm that had a history of tail-biting problems. The breed, gender, and relative size of the tail-biters were recorded. Using pedigree data for all the pigs on the farm at the time of observations, the heritability of the tail-biting behaviour was estimated for purebred Large White (LW) and Landrace (LR) pigs. The incidence of tail-biting was 2.8% for Large White and 3.5% for Landrace (breed effects, P<0.10). Tail-biting was found to be heritable in Landrace (h2=0.05±0.02, P<0.05 as a 0–1 trait, equivalent to h2=0.27 as a continuous trait), but not heritable in Large White pigs (h2=0.00±0.00, as a 0–1 trait). In the Landrace population, tail-biting was unfavourably genetically correlated with leanness [lean tissue growth rate (LTGR; rg=0.27, P<0.05), and back fat (BF) thickness at 90 kg (rg=−0.28, P<0.05)]. It is concluded that past selection for desirable production traits may have resulted in increased predisposition to exhibit tail-biting behaviour. From the correlations and covariance matrix reported, it would be possible to develop a selection index to reduce the predisposition to exhibit tail-biting behaviour through selective breeding.

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... A better understanding of those factors and how they interact will help to explain individual variation [4,5]. Recent efforts to improve performance of livestock species through intensified selective breeding, including increasing lean meat content, growth and feed efficiency, have been associated with a negative impact on homeostasis through correlated responses to selection [4,6,7]. As a result, disease tolerance [8] and resilience to stressors [9] can be compromised. ...
... Genetic differences are evident in that breeds differ in their tendency to become victims of tail biting, e.g., Yorkshire pigs are bitten more often than Landrace pigs [138], and to bite objects (oral rope manipulation) and conspecifics (the latter is shown more often by Duroc pigs than by Large White and Landrace pigs [139]). However, tail biting has a low heritability around 5% [7]. When the genotypes of pen mates are included in the analysis (indirect genetic effects), heritability can increase up to 24% (L. ...
... Indirect genetic effects can contribute to the heritable variation of a trait, and therefore, increase heritability. Moreover, selection for leaner meat and carcasses is genetically correlated with tail biting [7,135,140]. Careful evaluation of the effects of breeding programs and selection experiments on the propensity for tail biting is, therefore, of vital importance. ...
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Increasing stress resilience of livestock is important for ethical and profitable meat and dairy production. Susceptibility to stress can entail damaging behaviours, a common problem in pig production. Breeding animals with increased stress resilience is difficult for various reasons. First, studies on neuroendocrine and behavioural stress responses in farm animals are scarce, as it is difficult to record adequate phenotypes under field conditions. Second, damaging behaviours and stress susceptibility are complex traits, and their biology is not yet well understood. Dissecting complex traits into biologically better defined, heritable and easily measurable proxy traits and developing biomarkers will facilitate recording these traits in large numbers. High-throughput molecular technologies (“omics”) study the entirety of molecules and their interactions in a single analysis step. They can help to decipher the contributions of different physiological systems and identify candidate molecules that are representative of different physiological pathways. Here, we provide a general overview of different omics approaches and we give examples of how these techniques could be applied to discover biomarkers. We discuss the genetic dissection of the stress response by different omics techniques and we provide examples and outline potential applications of omics tools to understand and prevent outbreaks of damaging behaviours.
... This has required balancing by selection on birth weight but also survival over the critical neonatal period to slow or halt the increase in mortality. There is also evidence that selection for fast and efficient growth may have had a correlated genetic impact leading to greater aggressiveness of pigs towards pen mates (Desire et al., 2015) and a greater tendency to tail bite (Breuer et al., 2005). The international dairy breeding industry has faced similar but more pronounced undesirable correlated outcomes of selecting for production traits. ...
... Here we briefly summarise this evidence and consider whether it may point towards a breeding solution to this long-standing problem. The tendency to tail bite appears to be lowly heritable and only in some lines (heritability in Landrace pigs of 0.05 6 0.02; Breuer et al., 2005). In reality the estimation of an accurate heritability is problematic as the behaviour is episodic, the identification of the biters is highly labour intensive, biters form a minority of the population requiring large sample sizes and the trait is often recorded on a binary scale (biter or not). ...
... This poses a daunting barrier to routine phenotyping for the purposes of selection. It also means that without these barriers the heritability may be much higher than that reported by Breuer et al. (2005) meaning that the potential for genetic change has probably been underestimated. ...
... *The number of different chromosomes where QTL region(s) were detected is specified. References: [1] [24] Boettcher et al. (1998); [25] Lundeheim (1987); [26] Fan et al. (2009); [27] Nkrumah et al. (2007); [28] Robinson and Oddy (2004); [29] von; [30] Labroue et al. (1997); [31] Houston et al. (2005); [32] Howie et al. (2011); [33] Zhang et al. (2009); [34] Gilbert et al. (2009); [35] Craig et al 1965 in Mignon-Grasteau and; [36] Wright et al. (2003); [37] Sartori and Mantovani (2010); [38] Riddel and Swain (1991); [39] Turner et al. (2009); [40] Vollestad and Quinn (2003); [41] Løvendahl et al. (2005); [42] Hellbrü gge et al. (2008); [43] Kjaer and Sørensen (1997); [44] Su et al. (2005); [45] Craig and Muir (1993); [46] Buitenhuis et al. (2003); [47] Jonsson (1985); [48] Breuer et al. (2005); [49] Morris et al. (1994); [50] Le; [51] Hoppe et al. (2008); [52] Grandinson et al. (2003); [53] Vangen et al. (2005); [54] Grandinson et al. (2002); [55] Van der Steen et al. (1988); [56] Knap and Merks (1987); [57] Quilter et al. (2007); [58] Chen et al. (2009); [59] Xu et al. (2010); [60] Hemsworth et al. (1990); [61] Gauly et al. (2001); [62] Gill et al. (2007); [63] Hoppe et al. (2010); [64] Schmutz et al. (2001); [65] Holl et al. (2010); [66] Craig and Muir (1989); [67] Beaumont et al. (2005); [68] Minvielle et al. (2005); [69] Jones et al. (2009); [70] Schutz and Pajor (2001); [71] Visscher and Goddard (1995); [72]level, ease of locomotion is correlated positively with growth in pigs and milk yield in dairy cattle, whereas a negative correlation with growth was found in broilers (Table 3). In pigs, several QTL related to chronic activity were detected mainly on SSC5 and SSC7 and SSC8 (Reiner et al., 2009). ...
... Behavioural response to chronic stress. Social behaviour is associated positively with welfare in mammalian breeds that are less intensively selected for production (Le Neindre, 1984; Breuer et al., 2005). Social rank at the feeder is highly heritable in male pigs with genetic correlations unfavourable to growth but favourable to meat content in pigs (Jonsson, 1985). ...
... 85). Behavioural responses to chronic stressors in the physical environment may translate into some stereotypes such as long-lasting deviant relationships with other group members and altered relationships with humans. For instance, in pigs, tail-biting is a redirected foraging behaviour that would corresponds to the behaviour shown before feeding. Breuer et al. (2005) identified genetic variation in tail-biting in Landrace pigs (h 2 5 0.27) but none in Large White pigs. Wilson et al. (2010) performed a genome-wide association study in which different chromosomal regions were suggested to be associated with severe tail-biting. At the genetic level, tail-biting is correlated positively with growth and ...
Article
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The genetic improvement of production traits induces modifications in the behaviour of livestock. The capacity of adaptation of animals to environmental changes contributes to high levels of production under a wide range of farming conditions. Including behavioural criteria in selective breeding programmes could become appropriate. This review summarizes the knowledge on genetic parameters (heritability values, genes and QTL) for behaviour in cattle, pigs, poultry and fish, and genetic correlations with production traits. The genetic strategies to improve the behavioural capacity for adaptation differ between these livestock productions. Feeding activity has to be recorded. The locomotor capacity of broilers and dairy cattle, and the docility of beef cattle need to be improved. In Pigs, aggressiveness could be reduced and maternal behaviour should be enhanced. There is a greater emphasis on acute sensitivity to environmental stress in laying hens because maladaptive social behaviour can arise. Difficulties to develop such strategies refer to variability between populations or lines, and the correlation between reactivity in an experimental environment and in commercial farming conditions is generally unknown. There should be important interactions between genetics and the environment that are seldom assessed. These questions should be addressed before integrating behavioural traits in selective breeding programs.
... In einem Vergleich waren Schweine der Rasse Yorkshire häufiger Opfer von Schwanzbeißen als die der Rasse Landrasse (Sinisalo et al., 2012). Wohingegen bei der Landrasse im Vergleich zu Large White häufiger Schwanzbeißen auftrat (Breuer et al., 2005) und die Rasse Duroc mehr Beißverhalten an Buchtengenossen zeigt, als Landrasse und Large White (Breuer et al., 2003). Die Heritabilität von Schwanzbeißen bei der Landrasse ist mit 0,27 moderat vorhanden (Breuer et al., 2005). ...
... Wohingegen bei der Landrasse im Vergleich zu Large White häufiger Schwanzbeißen auftrat (Breuer et al., 2005) und die Rasse Duroc mehr Beißverhalten an Buchtengenossen zeigt, als Landrasse und Large White (Breuer et al., 2003). Die Heritabilität von Schwanzbeißen bei der Landrasse ist mit 0,27 moderat vorhanden (Breuer et al., 2005). Darüber hinaus wurde festgestellt, dass Schwanzbeißen mit Leistungsparametern korreliert (Breuer et al., 2005). ...
... Die Heritabilität von Schwanzbeißen bei der Landrasse ist mit 0,27 moderat vorhanden (Breuer et al., 2005). Darüber hinaus wurde festgestellt, dass Schwanzbeißen mit Leistungsparametern korreliert (Breuer et al., 2005). So neigen magere Schweine der Rasse Landrasse eher zu Schwanzbeißen als fette (Breuer et al., 2005) und bei Schweinen mit geringer Rückenspeckdicke wurde vermehrt Schwanzbeißen festgestellt im Vergleich zu Schweinen mit erhöhter Rückenspeckdicke (Moinard et al., 2003). ...
Thesis
Schwanzbeißen ist eine Verhaltensanomalie, die häufig bei konventionell gehaltenen Hausschweinen auftritt. Dabei kann es das Wohlergehen betroffener Schweine beeinträchtigen und ökonomische Verluste für den landwirtschaftlichen Betrieb bedeuten. Die Ursachen von Schwanzbeißen sind multifaktoriell, weshalb die bis heute gängigste Methode zur Reduktion von Schwanzschäden bei Schweinen das präventive Kupieren des Schwanzes darstellt. Neben dem invasiven Eingriff wirkt jedoch auch der Einsatz von Beschäftigungsmaterial reduzierend auf Schwanzschäden, indem das arttypische Explorationsverhalten gesteigert wird. Dabei stellt die schnelle Habituation von Schweinen eine Herausforderung bei der Auswahl geeigneter Beschäftigungsmaterialien dar. Im Rahmen des Projekts „Label-Fit“ wurden unterschiedliche organische Beschäftigungsmaterialien für Aufzucht- und Mastschweine untersucht, die in konventionellen Haltungssystemen mit Spaltenböden eingesetzt werden können. Das Ziel der vorliegenden Arbeit war die Identifikation von attraktivem Beschäftigungsmaterial anhand der Explorationsdauer der Tiere. Gleichzeitig wurde der Einfluss der eingesetzten Beschäftigungsmaterialien auf Schwanz- und Ohrschäden bei Schweinen mit unkupiertem Schwanz untersucht. Vor der Durchführung von drei Langzeituntersuchungen wurden zwei Wahlversuche zur Eingrenzung der für Schweine attraktiven organischen Beschäftigungsmaterialien durchgeführt. Dabei wurden den Schweinen in einem Trog mit sechs Fächern unterschiedlich strukturierte Materialien oder verschiedene fressbare Zusätze in Stroh parallel angeboten. Anhand der individuell erfassten Beschäftigungsdauer zeigten Schweine Präferenzen für pelletierte Materialien und gehäckseltes Stroh mit einem fressbaren Zusatz. Diese Ergebnisse wurden zur Auswahl von Beschäftigungsmaterialien für die anschließenden Langzeituntersuchungen herangezogen. Für die drei Langzeituntersuchungen wurden die mit Beschäftigungsmaterialien befüllten Beschäftigungstürme mit einem UHF-RFID-System ausgestattet, um die Beschäftigungsdauer der Schweine aufzuzeichnen. Beim Wechsel der alternierend angebotenen Beschäftigungsmaterialien wurden die Schwänze und Ohren der Schweine gemäß dem „Deutschen Schweine Boniturschlüssel“ bewertet. In der ersten Langzeituntersuchung erhielten die Schweine vier Beschäftigungsmaterialien mit unterschiedlichen Strukturen (Luzernepellets, Strohpellets, gehäckseltes Heu, gehäckseltes Stroh) im zweiwöchigen Wechsel. Dabei präferierten Aufzuchtschweine pelletierte Materialien und Mastschweine gehäckseltes Heu sowie Luzernepellets. Darüber hinaus stieg die Beschäftigungsdauer von der Aufzucht zur Mast an. Beim Einsatz der Materialien, die die höchste Beschäftigungsdauer in der Aufzucht erzielten (Luzernepellets oder Strohpellets), wurden die wenigsten Teilverluste am Schwanz erfasst. Jedoch traten beim Einsatz von Strohpellets in der Aufzucht die meisten Hautdurchbrechungen an den Schwänzen auf. Die zweite Langzeituntersuchung befasste sich mit der Frage, ob die Beschäftigungsdauer von Schweinen beim Einsatz von gehäckseltem Stroh gesteigert werden kann, wenn Maiskörner als fressbarer Zusatz untergemischt werden. Im Vergleich zu Schweinen, die gehäckseltes Stroh ohne Mais erhielten, zeigten Schweine, denen gehäckseltes Stroh mit Mais angeboten wurde, in der Aufzucht und Mast eine höhere Beschäftigungsdauer am Beschäftigungsturm. Die Beschäftigungsdauer konnte zudem von der Aufzucht zur Mast gesteigert werden, obwohl kein Materialwechsel innerhalb der Gruppen stattfand. Erstaunlicherweise traten bei den Schweinen, die gehäckseltes Stroh ohne Mais erhielten, im Vergleich zu den Schweinen, die gehäckseltes Stroh mit Mais erhielten, geringere Teilverluste am Schwanz auf. In der dritten Langzeituntersuchung wurden den Schweinen unterschiedlich aromatisierte Strohpellets im wöchentlichen Wechsel angeboten. Die höchste Beschäftigungsdauer wurde in der Aufzucht für Strohpellets mit Bratzwiebel- oder Mandel-Aroma erfasst. In der Mast beschäftigten sich die Schweine am längsten mit Strohpellets ohne Aroma oder mit Erdbeer-Aroma. Dabei konnte die Beschäftigungsdauer von der Aufzucht bis zur Mast konstant gehalten werden. Die meisten Hautdurchbrechungen am Schwanz traten in der Aufzucht bei der Verwendung von Vanille- oder Bratzwiebel-Aroma auf, wobei Vanille im Unterschied zu Bratzwiebel zu den Aromen mit den geringsten Beschäftigungsdauern zählte. Anhand der vorliegenden Untersuchungen konnten klare Präferenzen von Schweinen für bestimmte organische Beschäftigungsmaterialien gezeigt werden, die arttypisches Explorationsverhalten steigerten. Jedoch konnten Beschäftigungsmaterialien, für die eine hohe Beschäftigungsdauer erfasst wurde, Schwanzschäden (Längenverluste und Hautdurchbrechungen) nicht reduzieren. Dies verdeutlicht, dass neben dem Zugang zu Beschäftigungsmaterial weitere Faktoren auf die Prävalenz für Schwanzschäden einwirken, welche zusammenhängend betrachtet werden müssen.
... Yorkshire pigs were found to be receivers more often, with Hampshire receiving less tail biting than both other breeds (Westin, 2000). Breuer et al. (2005) and Breuer et al. (2003) addressed the question of whether or not tail biting is heritable in two studies. The first study tested the motivation to chew a rope, in which Durocs showed a higher propensity to chew and manipulate compared to Large Whites and Landrace pigs before weaning. ...
... The results reported by Breuer et al. (2005) also indicated that there was a positive genetic correlation between tail biting and both lean tissue growth rate and back fat thickness. This is an unfavourable correlation since these are production traits that have been highly selected for in breeding programs. ...
... Moinard et al. (2003) suggested that this may be associated with the provision of straw, since pigs provided with straw have been found to have a higher back fat thickness (Beattie et al., 2000). This is probably not the case since Breuer et al. (2005) later showed that these traits are associated also on a genetic level. Korte et al. (2009) also discussed that abnormal behaviour may be a consequence of modern selection. ...
Article
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... The genetic basis of ear and vulva biting is yet to be studied. With use of a direct model, Breuer et al. (2005) estimated a heritability of 0.05 for tail biting behaviour in Landrace pigs expressed on a binary scale, together with a heritability of 0.27 on the underlying continuous scale. The heritability was not statistically different from zero in Large White pigs (Breuer et al., 2005). ...
... With use of a direct model, Breuer et al. (2005) estimated a heritability of 0.05 for tail biting behaviour in Landrace pigs expressed on a binary scale, together with a heritability of 0.27 on the underlying continuous scale. The heritability was not statistically different from zero in Large White pigs (Breuer et al., 2005). Only a small number of pigs (3.3%) exhibited tail biting in this study. ...
... Pedigree information is available from the breeding companies and direct genetic effects are routinely estimated for performance traits, often several times during the focal animal's lifetime. Direct breeding values can also be calculated from behavioural observations directly, as has been done for aggression (Løvendahl et al., 2005;Turner et al., 2006) and tail biting (Breuer et al., 2005). In the cases of SNA and CRA, models can be complemented with a pedigree relationship matrix to address the heritable variation of damaging behaviours. ...
Article
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Innovations in the breeding and management of pigs are needed to improve the performance and welfare of animals raised in social groups, and in particular to minimise biting and damage to group mates. Depending on the context, social interactions between pigs can be frequent or infrequent, aggressive, or non-aggressive. Injuries or emotional distress may follow. The behaviours leading to damage to conspecifics include progeny savaging, tail, ear or vulva biting, and excessive aggression. In combination with changes in husbandry practices designed to improve living conditions, refined methods of genetic selection may be a solution reducing these behaviours. Knowledge gaps relating to lack of data and limits in statistical analyses have been identified. The originality of this paper lies in its proposal of several statistical methods for common use in analysing and predicting unwanted behaviours, and for genetic use in the breeding context. We focus on models of interaction reflecting the identity and behaviour of group mates which can be applied directly to damaging traits, social network analysis to define new and more integrative traits, and capture-recapture analysis to replace missing data by estimating the probability of behaviours. We provide the rationale for each method and suggest they should be combined for a more accurate estimation of the variation underlying damaging behaviours.
... Moinard et al. (17) found in an epidemiological study that when back fat thickness increased with 1 mm, the risk of TB decreased 1.5-fold. Breuer et al. (98) found a positive genetic correlation between TB and lean tissue growth rate and a negative genetic correlation between TB and back fat thickness. Brunberg et al. (88) also found support for a genetic association between TB and fatness. ...
... Heritability studies in both hens and pigs have contributed to knowledge regarding the genetic influences on these traits. The heritability estimates for FP vary between 0 to 0.15 (106), 0.05 to 0.38 (107), 0.11 (80), and 0.56 (108) and for TB between 0 in Large White pigs and 0.27 in Landrace pigs (98). That the heritability for FP is moderate has been further demonstrated in the selection lines created by Kjaer et al. (57), in which a significant difference in the level of FP could be seen between the HFP and LFP lines after only two generations. ...
Article
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Pigs and poultry are by far the most omnivorous of the domesticated farm animals and it is in their nature to be highly explorative. In the barren production environments, this motivation to explore can be expressed as abnormal oral manipulation directed toward pen mates. Tail biting (TB) in pigs and feather pecking (FP) in laying hens are examples of unwanted behaviors that are detrimental to the welfare of the animals. The aim of this review is to draw these two seemingly similar abnormalities together in a common framework, in order to seek underlying mechanisms and principles. Both TB and FP are affected by the physical and social environment, but not all individuals in a group express these behaviors and individual genetic and neurobiological characteristics play an important role. By synthesizing what is known about environmental and individual influences, we suggest a novel possible mechanism, common for pigs and poultry, involving the brain–gut–microbiota axis.
... Bitten tails may attract further biting so that the injury is to the abdomen at the base of the tail after the tail itself has been bitten off." Tail biting is a form of "harmful social behaviour" [180] (HSB; "social" because it involves other pigs) in intensive animal production [181,182], possibly a form of redirected outlet behavior (as in the section on "Deprivation") in the absence of rooting substrate such as straw [183]. Other forms are vulva biting in group-housed sows [184], piglet savaging by sows [185], and feather pecking in poultry. ...
... The extension to tail biting in pigs is obvious: Breuer et al. [180] estimated heritabilities of tail biting in two populations (both with an actor incidence of about 3%) at 0.00 and 0.05 on the observed scale, and bravely conclude that "it would be possible to develop a selection index to reduce [. . .] tail-biting behavior through selective breeding" -but any statistical method that delivers substantially higher heritable variation would be very useful here. ...
... A study on the heritability of performance of tail biting found it to be 0.27 in a Landrace population [41]. The study also found indications of unfavourable genetic correlations between tail biting and lean tissue growth rate and back fat thickness. ...
... The study also found indications of unfavourable genetic correlations between tail biting and lean tissue growth rate and back fat thickness. However, in the same study, tail biting was not found to be heritable for Large White pigs [41]. Taken together, the evidence in the scientific literature indicates that tail biting is to some extent influenced by pig genetics and that it is indirectly negatively affected by breeding for high lean meat growth. ...
Article
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Tail biting is a common issue within commercial pig production. It is mainly an indicator of inadequate housing environment and results in reduced health welfare and production. To reduce the impact of tail biting, pigs are commonly tail docked, without pain relief, within the first week of life. EU Council Directive 2008/120/EC prohibits routine tail docking, but the practice is still widely used in many Member States. Sweden has banned tail docking since 1988 and all pigs have intact tails, yet tail biting is a minor problem. This paper summarises and synthesises experimental findings and practical expertise in production of undocked pigs in Sweden and describes solutions to facilitate a transition to producing pigs with intact tails within intensive pig production in the EU. Swedish pig housing conditions and management differ in many aspects from those in other EU Member States. Swedish experiences show that lower stocking density, provision of sufficient feeding space, no fully slatted flooring, strict maximum levels for noxious gases and regular provision of litter material are crucial for success when rearing pigs with intact tails. To prevent tail biting and to eliminate the need for tail docking, we strongly recommend that EU legislation should more clearly match the biological needs of pigs, as is done in Swedish legislation.
... Tail biting is a major welfare issue in the swine industry and is a heritable trait [i.e., can be reduced through selective breeding (Breuer et al., 2005)]. Brünger et al. (2019) used neural networks to identify tail lesions in pictures from 13,124 pig carcasses and was able to correctly identify 74% of tail lesions and 95% of tail losses. ...
... In this context, various livestock breeding programs have started to incorporate welfare and resilience indicators in their breeding programs. Examples of welfare indicators that have been investigated or included in selection schemes in livestock breeding programs around the world are: aggression (Løvendahl et al., 2005); behavior (Rohrer et al., 2013); boar taint (to avoid castration; Tajet et al., 2006;Zadinová et al., 2016), calf wellness (Gonzalez-Peña et al., 2019), calving ease (Jamrozik and Miller, 2014;Vanderick et al., 2014;Li and Brown, 2016), cortisol levels (Mormède et al., 2011); docility (Norris et al., 2014); feather pecking (Dawkins and Layton, 2012), feet and leg health (Kapell et al., 2012(Kapell et al., , 2017; fertility disorders (Guarini et al., 2018;Fleming et al., 2019), hoof health [in cattle (Chapinal et al., 2013;Häggman and Juga, 2013;Heringstad et al., 2018), sheep (Conington et al., 2008), and pigs (Quintanilla et al., 2006)]; lesion scores (Wurtz et al., 2017;Angarita et al., 2019), longevity (Serenius and Stalder, 2006;Ramos et al., 2020), mastitis (Martin et al., 2018); maternal behavior and progeny survival (Gäde et al., 2008;Hellbrügge et al., 2008a,b), metabolic diseases (Egger-Danner et al., 2014;Jamrozik et al., 2016;Pryce et al., 2016), nematode resistance (Doeschl-Wilson et al., 2008), overall resilience (Berghof et al., 2019), paratuberculosis Mallikarjunappa et al., 2020); pre-weaning survival (Su et al., 2007;Nielsen et al., 2013); social dominance (Tong et al., 2020); tail or ear biting (Breuer et al., 2005), and thermal tolerance (Fragomeni et al., 2016;Misztal, 2017;Nguyen et al., 2017;Xu et al., 2017). Genetic selection and modern genomic techniques (e.g., gene editing) might also be an alternative to eliminate the need for stressful procedures in commercial applications such as cattle dehorning (Van Eenennaam and Young, 2018). ...
Article
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Genomic breeding programs have been paramount in improving the rates of genetic progress of productive efficiency traits in livestock. Such improvement has been accompanied by the intensification of production systems, use of a wider range of precision technologies in routine management practices, and high-throughput phenotyping. Simultaneously, a greater public awareness of animal welfare has influenced livestock producers to place more emphasis on welfare relative to production traits. Therefore, management practices and breeding technologies in livestock have been developed in recent years to enhance animal welfare. In particular, genomic selection can be used to improve livestock social behavior, resilience to disease and other stress factors, and ease habituation to production system changes. The main requirements for including novel behavioral and welfare traits in genomic breeding schemes are: (1) to identify traits that represent the biological mechanisms of the industry breeding goals; (2) the availability of individual phenotypic records measured on a large number of animals (ideally with genomic information); (3) the derived traits are heritable, biologically meaningful, repeatable, and (ideally) not highly correlated with other traits already included in the selection indexes; and (4) genomic information is available for a large number of individuals (or genetically close individuals) with phenotypic records. In this review, we (1) describe a potential route for development of novel welfare indicator traits (using ideal phenotypes) for both genetic and genomic selection schemes; (2) summarize key indicator variables of livestock behavior and welfare, including a detailed assessment of thermal stress in livestock; (3) describe the primary statistical and bioinformatic methods available for large-scale data analyses of animal welfare; and (4) identify major advancements, challenges, and opportunities to generate high-throughput and large-scale datasets to enable genetic and genomic selection for improved welfare in livestock. A wide variety of novel welfare indicator traits can be derived from information captured by modern technology such as sensors, automatic feeding systems, milking robots, activity monitors, video cameras, and indirect biomarkers at the cellular and physiological levels. The development of novel traits coupled with genomic selection schemes for improved welfare in livestock can be feasible and optimized based on recently developed (or developing) technologies. Efficient implementation of genetic and genomic selection for improved animal welfare also requires the integration of a multitude of scientific fields such as cell and molecular biology, neuroscience, immunology, stress physiology, computer science, engineering, quantitative genomics, and bioinformatics.
... Les types génétiques modernes à croissance rapide semblent plus susceptibles de développer des comportements anormaux comme les morsures de queue. Une corrélation génétique positive a ainsi été établie entre la vitesse de croissance du tissu maigre et la fréquence des actes de morsures de queue, alors que cette corrélation était négative avec l'épaisseur de gras dorsal (Breuer et al 2005). De même, on note des différences entre les races ; les animaux Duroc mordent davantage leurs congénères que les animaux Landrace ou Large White (Breuer et al 2005). ...
... Une corrélation génétique positive a ainsi été établie entre la vitesse de croissance du tissu maigre et la fréquence des actes de morsures de queue, alors que cette corrélation était négative avec l'épaisseur de gras dorsal (Breuer et al 2005). De même, on note des différences entre les races ; les animaux Duroc mordent davantage leurs congénères que les animaux Landrace ou Large White (Breuer et al 2005). On note également que la restriction alimentaire induit des modifications comportementales, en particulier une compétition alimentaire accrue dont les conséquences semblent plus sévères chez les animaux maigres que chez les animaux gras (Botermans et Svendsen 2000). ...
Article
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The evolution of animal performance levels on French pig farms indicates a significant improvement of sow productivity, without any degradation of their longevity but with a tendency to a slight increase in piglet mortality. This improvement in performance results both from the genetic gains realised and the improved control of the environment of swine. However, such high performance levels imply high physiological demands for the sows and piglets, and it may be questioned whether the animals are able to face these changes. In sows, the problems of leg weakness and the increased risk of occurrence of nutritional deficit during lactation were identified. With a greater prolificacy, competition among piglets for nutrients, either in utero or during lactation, is enhanced. Although on-farm performance of fattening pigs has been improved, it still remains below the genetic potential for certain traits, indicating some problems of adaptation. In this context, the sensitivity of pigs to multifactorial diseases remains an important problem. In the future, animal robustness has to be considered while taking into account the expected evolution of pig production systems and changes in regulations. Getting more autonomous pigs, having improved resistance to diseases and higher ability to make use of more diversified feeding resources, could be perspectives for future research.
... These factors include but may not be limited to nutrition (Fraser et al., 1991), environmental climate (Chambers et al., 1995), and the presence of enrichment material (Van de Weerd et al., 2005). In addition, internal factors, such as sex (Zonderland et al., 2010) and genetic background (Moinard et al., 2003;Breuer et al., 2005), may also play a role. ...
... In addition, when looking at the interaction effect of treatment and pig type on tail biting, a higher frequency of this behavior is observed in type C pigs in control pens compared to type G pigs in the same type of pens. It has been suggested that a higher prevalence of tail biting occurs in pigs with a higher lean meat percentage and pigs with lower backfat thickness (Moinard et al., 2003;Breuer et al., 2005). Lean pigs seem to have higher protein requirements compared to fatter pigs (Liu et al., 2015), but their voluntary feed intake is lower (Henry, 1985;Gu et al., 1991). ...
Article
In an attempt to prevent tail biting in pigs, tail docking is often done. This management procedure is painful for the pigs, so the question arises whether pigs can be raised with intact tails and whether these pigs would benefit from an enriched environment. The aim of this study was to investigate the behavior and performance of fattening pigs with intact tails in an enriched environment and fattening pigs in a more barren environment. A total of 94 pigs with different genetic backgrounds (type C pigs: predisposed to better carcass traits vs. type G: predisposed to better growth) were followed up during the fattening period (30-110 kg). Half of these pigs (n = 48) were housed in 4 barren control pens (a hanging toy as enrichment). The other half of the pigs (n = 46) were housed in 4 enriched pens (a hanging toy, straw blocks in a dispenser, and a hiding wall). Type C and type G pigs were equally spread over these treatments, but were housed separately (n = 2 pens/type/treatment). Behavioral observations were carried out once a week, and the presence of skin lesions was recorded every 14 days. Pigs were weighed individually on 4 occasions (start of the study, 6 and 12 weeks later and at slaughter), and simultaneously, tail lengths were also measured. The results revealed a general higher frequency of ear biting compared to tail biting in both barren and enriched pens. However, a higher frequency of tail biting was observed in enriched pens in the period between weight 3 and slaughter (90-110 kg) compared to barren pens. The restriction of movements around the pen and restricted access to the straw dispensers caused by the hiding wall, in combination with decreased space allowance due to weight gain, might have resulted in increased tail biting. When looking at the entire fattening period, this higher frequency of tail biting in enriched pens was mainly observed in type G pigs, while no difference between barren and enriched pens was found for type C pigs. Pigs in enriched pens had a higher average daily weight gain over the entire fattening period. Pigs predisposed to better growth (type G) had a higher average individual weight and longer tails than pigs predisposed to better carcass traits at the start of the fattening stage, yet daily weight gain and daily growth of the tail over the entire fattening stage did not differ between pig types. In conclusion, the presence of both straw dispensers and a hiding wall did not contribute to a lower frequency of biting behavior and aggressive behavior. Tail biting increased in enriched pens during the last period of the fattening stage. The results suggest that genetic background should be considered when investigating the cause of tail-biting outbreaks and when evaluating the effect of enrichment on tail biting.
... Commercially kept pigs have been selected primarily for growth rate and are kept in barren environments, which both may have increased competitive and aberrant behaviour (Rodenburg and Turner 2012). Aberrant behaviour, such as repeatedly chewing on tails or ears of group mates is in some pig breeds heritable (Breuer et al. 2005), may harm growth and health of the bitten animal, and is considered a severe welfare problem in pig husbandry (e.g. Schrøder-Petersen and Simonsen 2001). ...
... For example, insight in which inherited behaviours affect growth rate of group mates may outline the potential possibilities, and potential profitability, of reducing or enhancing specific (social) interactions. Tail biting may hereby be a factor, as tail biting has found to be heritable in some breeds (Breuer et al. 2005) and victims of tail biting may show a reduced growth rate (e.g. Sinisalo et al. 2012). ...
Article
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Indirect genetic effects (IGEs) are heritable effects of an individual on phenotypic values of others, and may result from social interactions. We determined the behavioural consequences of selection for IGEs for growth (IGEg) in pigs in a G × E treatment design. Pigs (n = 480) were selected for high versus low IGEg with a contrast of 14 g average daily gain and were housed in either barren or straw-enriched pens (n = 80). High IGEg pigs showed from 8 to 23 weeks age 40 % less aggressive biting (P = 0.006), 27 % less ear biting (P = 0.03), and 40 % less biting on enrichment material (P = 0.005). High IGEg pigs had a lower tail damage score (high 2.0; low 2.2; P = 0.004), and consumed 30 % less jute sacks (P = 0.002). Selection on high IGEg reduced biting behaviours additive to the, generally much larger, effects of straw-bedding (P < 0.01), with no G × E interactions. These results show opportunities to reduce harmful biting behaviours in pigs.
... Tail biting was, in Landrace but not Large White pigs, found to be genetically correlated with lean tissue growth rate (positive) and back fat thickness (negative), and tail biters may be the larger pigs instead of the smaller pigs, which was suggested by others (Wallgren and Lindahl, 1996;Beattie et al., 2005). Although the EBV for back fat was not associated with tailbiting behavior in our pigs as was expected based on the study of Breuer et al. (2005), back fat was associated with ear biting in gilts kept in J pens. Because the genetic makeup of the pigs used in the present study was not entirely the same as that of the Landrace pigs of Breuer et al. (2005), this may suggest that the relationship between EBV for back fat and (manipulative) behavior depended on breed. ...
... Although the EBV for back fat was not associated with tailbiting behavior in our pigs as was expected based on the study of Breuer et al. (2005), back fat was associated with ear biting in gilts kept in J pens. Because the genetic makeup of the pigs used in the present study was not entirely the same as that of the Landrace pigs of Breuer et al. (2005), this may suggest that the relationship between EBV for back fat and (manipulative) behavior depended on breed. Possibly, experimental setup and housing conditions may also affect this relationship. ...
Article
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Pigs may display biting behavior directed at pen mates, resulting in body damage such as tail wounds. We assessed the suitability of jute sacks (hung vertically at wall) to reduce biting behaviors and tail wounds in rearing gilts. Additionally, we assessed several characteristics of different types of tail biters. Tail docked rearing gilts originated from 72 litters, which were kept in partly slatted pens with jute sacks (J) or barren control pens (C) (36 litters per treatment). Tail and ear damage were observed at weaning (4 weeks), and during the weaner and rearing phase (17 J and 19 C pens). Also sow (dam) damage was considered. Biting behaviors (tail, ear and other) were observed during the weaner and rearing phase. Weight was recorded at birth, weaning and end of the weaner phase, and average daily gain was calculated from birth till weaning and from weaning till 9 weeks. Furthermore, estimated breeding values for litter size, litter birth weight, back fat, and growth between birth and ±105 kg, and ±25-105 kg were determined. Jute sacks reduced tail and ear damage at weaning (both P < 0.001) and tended to reduce sow tail damage (P = 0.09). Jute sacks also reduced tail damage post-weaning (P < 0.001-0.03), with a five-fold reduction of (mild) tail wounds at the age of 13 weeks. Biting behaviors directed at pen mates were up to 50 % lower in J pens (P < 0.001-0.04). Higher genotypic litter size, litter birth weight, and growth, and lower back fat seemed associated with higher levels of ear or tail biting behavior (P = 0.002-0.09), albeit dependent on treatment and phase. Higher phenotypic litter sizes were associated with higher levels of biting behaviors (P = 0.004-0.08). High-tail biters and Medium-tail biters (the latter less pronounced) stemmed from larger litters (P = 0.01-0.05), were heavier (P = 0.03-0.04), grew faster (P = 0.05-0.08) and displayed higher levels of all kinds of biting behavior directed to pen mates and the jute sack (P < 0.001-0.10) compared with Non-tail biters, the effect size dependent on treatment and phase of life. To conclude, jute sacks may profoundly reduce damaging behaviors and tail wounds in rearing gilts, probably because they partly meet the behavioral need of pigs for rooting and chewing. Furthermore, (tail) biting is associated with production level of the gilts (phenotypically and genetically) which suggests a role for breeding programs, and additional research focusing on metabolic demands of (tail) biting pigs.
... Tail biting is among the most frequent abnormal behaviors in swine, although its causes are not well determined. In addition to the negative impact on animal welfare (Breuer et al. 2005), the association of tail biting with secondary infections and body condition loss may result in substantial economic losses (Kritas & Morrison 2007). ...
Article
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The present study assessed the association of tail-biting lesions in finishing pigs with weight gain, occurrence of locomotion or respiratory disorders and abscesses during finishing period, and carcass condemnation at slaughter. The study was carried out on 4 different farms. For each animal with a tail biting lesion, two control pigs were selected. The total number of animals in the study was 312, with 104 of them being tail-bitten. Tail lesions were classified according to the degree of severity into four scores: score 0 -normal tail withou lesion; score 1-3 - increasing lesion severity, and score 4 - healed lesions. Overall, the occurrence of severe tail lesions (score 3) varied from 55 to 73% of tail-bitten pigs among farms. On all farms, healing of tail lesions was observed in 95% to 100% of the animals at the evaluation performed within 41-43 days after the commencement of the study. In two out of the four evaluated farms, pigs with score of 3 showed lower weight gain (P
... Where data are available, the broadening of breeding goals to include health and welfare traits has been shown to benefi t economic return and, as such, these breeding goals have been adopted by some national dairy genetic evaluation systems (Wall et al., 2010). There are also examples where selection for increased production may have led to an increase in undesirable behavior: For example, tail biting in pigs has been shown to be correlated with genetic selection for lean meat (Breuer et al., 2005) and feather pecking in laying hens with early sexual maturation . Behavior and welfare traits are starting to play a more important role in breeding programs in general. ...
... There are indications of a possibility for genetic development of pigs with a lower risk of tail biting as the risk of being tail bitten is influenced by breed [16,39]. Tail biting is probably heritable, and genetically connected to a high lean tissue level and low back fat level, both characteristics may be favoured by modern selection [40]. More recent studies have shown that pigs that stay neutral, ie. are neither bitten or performing biting in pens where tail biting do occur, differ significantly in their gene expression from other phenotypes. ...
Article
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Tail biting is a common problem in modern pig production and has a negative impact on both animal welfare and economic result of the farm. Tail biting risk is increased by management and housing practices that fail to meet the basic needs of pigs. Tail docking is commonly used to reduce the risk of tail biting, but tail docking in itself is a welfare problem, as it causes pain to the pigs, and facilitates suboptimal production methods from a welfare point-of-view. When evaluating the cost and benefit of tail docking, it is important to consider negative impacts of both tail docking and tail biting. It is also essential to realize that even though 100% of the pigs are normally docked, only a minority will end up bitten, even in the worst case. In addition, data suggests that tail biting can be managed to an acceptable level even without tail docking, by correcting the production system to better meet the basic needs of the pigs.
... Possible effects of size and sex have been found in relation to tail-biting, where some studies report that females (Schrøder-Petersen et al., 2004;Van de Weerd et al., 2005;Zonderland et al., 2010) and smaller pigs (Zonderland et al., 2011) are more likely to exhibit these behaviours, although many other studies have not found these effects (e.g. Breuer et al., 2005;Steinmetz and Pedersen, 2009). ...
Article
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In the EU, pigs must have permanent access to manipulable materials such as straw, rope, wood, etc. Long straw can fulfil this function, but can increase labour requirements for cleaning pens, and result in problems with blocked slatted floors and slurry systems. Chopped straw might be more practical, but what is the effect on pigs’ behaviour of using chopped straw instead of long straw? Commercial pigs in 1/3 slatted, 2/3 solid pens of 15 pigs were provided with either 100 g/pig per day of long straw (20 pens) or of chopped straw (19 pens). Behavioural observations were made of three focal pigs per pen (one from each of small, medium and large weight tertiles) for one full day between 0600 and 2300 h at each of ~40 and ~80 kg. The time spent rooting/investigating overall (709 s/pig per hour at 40 kg to 533 s/pig per hour at 80 kg), or directed to the straw/solid floor (497 s/pig per hour at 40 kg to 343 s/pig per hour at 80 kg), was not affected by straw length but reduced with age. Time spent investigating other pigs (83 s/pig per hour at 40 kg), the slatted floor (57 s/pig per hour) or pen fixtures (21 s/pig per hour) was not affected by age or straw length. Aggressive behaviour was infrequent, but lasted about twice as long in pens with chopped straw (2.3 s/pig per hour at 40 kg) compared with pens with long straw (1.0 s/pig per hour at 40 kg, P =0.060). There were no significant effects of straw length on tail or ear lesions, but shoulders were significantly more likely to have minor scratches with chopped straw ( P =0.031), which may reflect the higher levels of aggression. Smaller pigs showed more rooting/investigatory behaviour, and in particular directed towards the straw/solid floor and the slatted floor than their larger pen-mates. Females exhibited more straw and pen fixture-directed behaviour than males. There were no effects of pig size or sex on behaviour directed towards other pigs. In summary, pigs spent similar amounts of time interacting with straw/solid floor when long and chopped straw were provided, and most aspects of pig-directed behaviour and injuries were not affected by straw length. There was an increase in pigs with minor shoulder lesions with chopped straw, perhaps because of increased aggression. The use of chopped straw as an enrichment material for pigs warrants further investigation in larger and more detailed studies.
... Growing pigs in commercial production systems perform a variety of undesirable behaviours such as bellynosing, tail-and ear-biting (Blackshaw, 1981;Breuer et al., 2005) and aggression (Andersen et al., 2000) which pose risks to pig welfare. In systems where entire males (i.e. ...
... Less clear indicators are available for risk factors related to genotype and ontogeny. Where the risk factors are associated with intensive selection for leanness (Moinard et al., 2003;Breuer et al., 2005) the level of backfat thickness, measured ultrasonically on the live animal or on the carcass at slaughter, may be an indicator. Genetic risk factors can be related to subsequent aggression (and associated skin lesions) (Turner, 2011). ...
Article
Pigs have a need for manipulable materials to satisfy a range of behavioural needs, which can be different in different classes of pig. When these needs are not met, a range of adverse welfare consequences result, one of these being an increased risk for tail-biting in weaners and rearing pigs. The ability to control the risk of tail-biting is essential when aiming to avoid tail-docking. Based on available scientific information this Opinion identifies the multiple interactions between risk factors, welfare consequences and animal and non-animal-based measures on the two subjects requested (i) the absence of functional manipulable materials, for pigs at different stages in life and (ii) tail-biting, for weaners and rearing pigs only. An attempt is made to quantify the relationships between the identified interactions by carrying out a statistical analysis of information from available databases, those being an international dataset collected using the Welfare Quality® protocol, which was not designed to evaluate risk factors for tail-biting and therefore, it had limitations in fitness for this analysis, and a large Finnish dataset with undocked pigs. Based on the current state of knowledge, the AHAW Panel proposes two simple tool-boxes for on farm use to assess (i) the functionality of the supplied manipulable material and (ii) the presence and strength of risk factors for tail biting. Both proposed tool-boxes include a combination of the most important resource-based and animal-based measures. Further development and validation of decision–support tools for customised farm assessment is strongly recommended and a proposal for harmonised data collection across the range of European farming circumstances is presented. A series of further recommendations are made by the AHAW Panel.
... One recurring aspect of importance is the presence of suitable enrichment for pigs to satisfy their behavioural need for rooting (D'Eath et al., 2014;EFSA, 2014). Furthermore, intensification of pig production resulted in fast-growing animals with high nutritional needs as well as increased health hazards, which both increase risk for tail biting by lowering animal resilience (Breuer et al., 2005;Moinard et al., 2003). At the same time, intensive husbandry systems impose high demands on the coping abilities of the animals. ...
Article
Docking the tails of young piglets is a common procedure in many EU countries in order to lower risk for tail biting later in life. This, however, contradicts current EU legislation, which is why there have been complaints to the Commission about lack of implementation of COUNCIL DIRECTIVE 2008/120/EC. In Germany, these complaints prompted a large number of research and advisory activities with the aim of reducing the extent of tail docking. This article summarises these activities and outlines results from discussion groups on recommendations for further steps towards keeping intact tails. In general, projects underlined the multifactorial nature of tail biting, in that the success in keeping intact pigs without biting varied widely between farms and also between batches and groups within the same farm. The common recommendation for farmers aiming to reduce tail docking on their farm is to start with a small number of intact animals in order to gain experience.
... Removal of prophylactic AB from pig feed could pose additional disease challenges thereby increasing the need for labour-intensive parenteral treatments and possibly resulting in poor compliance with dosing schedules. There could be other unintended or unforeseen challenges which may stress pigs and cause an increase in negative behaviours [17,18] such as aggression [19] and tail, ear and flank biting [20,21] all of which result in lesions and are major welfare problems in intensive production systems. Therefore, the objective of this study was to determine the effect of removing prophylactic AB from pig feed and replacing it with parenteral treatments as needed, on pig health and welfare indicators, with particular focus on the performance and consequences of negative behaviours. ...
Article
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Antibiotics (AB) are used in intensive pig production systems to control infectious diseases and they are suspected to be a major source of antibiotic resistance. Following the ban on AB use as growth promoters in the EU, their prophylactic use in-feed is now under review. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of removing prophylactic in-feed AB on pig health and welfare indicators. Every Monday for six weeks, a subset of 70 pigs were weaned, tagged and sorted into two groups of 35 pigs according to weight (9.2 ± 0.6 kg). AB were removed from the diet of one group (NO, n = 6) and maintained in the other group (AB, n = 6) for nine weeks. Ten focal pigs were chosen per group. After c. five weeks each group was split into two pens of c.17 pigs for the following 4 weeks. Data were recorded weekly. Skin, tail, ear, flank and limb lesions of focal pigs were scored according to severity. The number of animals per group affected by health deviations was also recorded. The number of fights and harmful behaviours (ear, tail bites) per group was counted during 3×5min observations once per week. Data were analysed using mixed model equations and binomial logistic regression. At group level, AB pigs were more likely to have tail (OR = 1.70; P = 0.05) but less likely to have ear lesions than NO pigs (OR = 0.46; P<0.05). The number of ear bites (21.4±2.15 vs. 17.3±1.61; P<0.05) and fights (6.91±0.91 vs. 5.58±0.72; P = 0.09) was higher in AB than in NO pigs. There was no effect of treatment on health deviations and the frequency of these was low. Removing AB from the feed of weaner pigs had minimal effects on health and welfare indicators.
... It is not completely understood why pigs perform tail biting be- haviour but it could be the result of redirected exploratory behav- iour or frustration if pigs are unable to perform natural behaviours, such as rooting or suckling (Van Putten 1980; ). Many risk factors have been associated with tail biting behaviour, including environmental, nutrition, gender, genetics and health status (Fraser 1987;Hunter et al. 1999;Moinard et al. 2003;Breuer et al. 2005;Zonderland et al. 2008). Comprehensive reviews on this subject have been written by Schrøder-Petersen and Simonsen (2001) and Taylor et al. (2010). ...
Article
Abstract Iron administration, teeth clipping, tail docking and castration are common invasive husbandry procedures performed on piglets on commercial farms, generally within the first week of life. These procedures are performed to prevent potential health and welfare problems of piglets and/or the sow, or, with respect to castration, to enhance meat quality. The objectives of this review were firstly, to provide the rationale and scientific evidence for performing these procedures, secondly, to describe the welfare implications of these procedures, and lastly, to describe mitigation strategies or alternatives that can be used to eliminate or reduce the pain caused by these procedures. Administering supplementary iron is necessary to prevent anaemia in piglets and the procedure has a low welfare impact. The stated benefits of teeth clipping to prevent udder lesions do not appear to outweigh the risk from injury and infection in piglets following the procedure. Tail docking reduces the prevalence of tail biting, but does not eliminate this behaviour and the practice of tail docking can cause acute pain. Castration is primarily performed to reduce the occurrence of boar taint, but alternatives are now available that negate the need to perform this procedure. Teeth clipping, tail docking and castration all cause behavioural and physiological changes indicative of acute pain and can have potentially long term negative consequences such as causing abscesses, lesions and the formation of neuromas. Therefore effective pain mitigation strategies (e.g. analgesia, local or general anaesthesia) that markedly alleviate the pain caused by these procedures are necessary to improve the welfare of piglets. Alternatively, if management practices are available that eliminate the need for performing these procedures altogether, then they should be adopted.
... EFSA (2007) also comprehensively discussed the role of other possible factors of tail biting occurrence and spread, such as nutritional deficiencies (e.g. sodium), genetic heritability (Breuer et al., 2005), age (the end of the weaner phase is the most risky) and sex (castrated males seem at lower risk compared to entire females) (Zonderland et al., 2010). ...
... Antes de inducir dolor innecesario en los animales, debería considerarse modificar algunos de estos factores (Mota-Rojas et al., 2016), que pueden manejarse fácilmente y reducir los brotes de caudofagia ; aunque también se han identificado en la literatura algunas otras causas como factores secundarios. Entre estas están el tamaño de la piara (Chambers et al., 1995), el género (Walker y Bilkei, 2006;Zonderland et al., 2010), el tipo de piso, falta de ventilación, deficiencias nutricionales (Jankevicius y Widowski, 2003, genéticas (Breuer et al., 2005), longitud de la cola (Hunter et al., 1999), estado de salud (Moinard et al., 2003), mantenimiento de grupos estables (Levionnois y Morméde, 2014), y, en general, situaciones que causen competencia, frustración o estrés. Por tanto, al recortar las colas de manera rutinaria se enmascaran al menos parcialmente otros problemas relacionados con el manejo en la granja (Edwards, 2006;D'Eath et al., 2014) de los que el productor no tendrá conciencia. ...
Book
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Este libro nace del interés de los autores por ofrecer una herramienta práctica para la toma de decisiones en el manejo de animales, particularmente respecto al ejercicio de determinadas prácticas que son dolorosas. En este trabajo se incluye información científicamente fundamentada para ayudar a determinar la necesidad de llevarlas a cabo o la posibilidad de aplicar otras opciones. El lector encontrará información sintetizada para la correcta elección de las técnicas; conocerá cuándo y cómo llevarlas a cabo y estará en condiciones de comparar las diferentes opciones a través de datos conductuales y fisiológicos. Indudablemente esta obra puede contribuir a fomentar, tanto en técnicos como en productores, una zootecnia moderna, tendiente a la erradicación del dolor innecesario en los animales y a favor de su bienestar.
... Generally, it is difficult to separate effects of breed from effects of selection for production traits such as leanness on the propensity to bite or be bitten. Breuer (106) reported that predisposition to tail bite had a heritable component within Landrace pigs and that this predisposition has a genetic correlation with lean tissue 2 | Studies supporting animal, environment, feeding, housing and management related risk factors shared between health conditions and damaging behavior and the direction of the relationship for specific characteristics. ...
Article
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Damaging behaviors (DB) such as tail and ear biting are prevalent in pig production and reduce welfare and performance. Anecdotal reports suggest that health challenges increase the risk of tail-biting. The prevalence of tail damage and health problems show high correlations across batches within and between farms. There are many common risk factors for tail-biting and health problems, notably respiratory, enteric and locomotory diseases. These include suboptimal thermal climate, hygiene, stocking density and feed quality. The prevalence of tail damage and health problems also show high correlations across batches within and between farms. However, limited evidence supports two likely causal mechanisms for a direct link between DB and health problems. The first is that generalized poor health (e.g., enzootic pneumonia) on farm poses an increased risk of pigs performing DB. Recent studies indicate a possible causal link between an experimental inflammation and an increase in DB, and suggest a link between cytokines and tail-biting. The negative effects of poor health on the ingestion and processing of nutrients means that immune-stimulated pigs may develop specific nutrient deficiencies, increasing DB. The second causal mechanism involves tail-biting causing poor health. Indirectly, pathogens enter the body via the tail lesion and once infected, systemic spread of infection may occur. This occurs mainly via the venous route targeting the lungs, and to a lesser extent via cerebrospinal fluid and the lymphatic system. In carcasses with tail lesions, there is an increase in lung lesions, abscessation, arthritis and osteomyelitis. There is also evidence for the direct spread of pathogens between biters and victims. In summary, the literature supports the association between poor health and DB, particularly tail-biting. However, there is insufficient evidence to confirm causality in either direction. Nevertheless, the limited evidence is compelling enough to suggest that improvements to management and housing to enhance pig health will reduce DB. In the same way, improvements to housing and management designed to address DB, are likely to result in benefits to pig health. While most of the available literature relates to tail-biting, we suggest that similar mechanisms are responsible for links between health and other DB.
... Por fim, em suínos os efeitos colaterais relacionados à seleção para crescimento rápido, produção de carne magra e aumento no tamanho das leitegadas resultaram em baixa viabilidade dos leitões ao nascimento e a problemas comportamentais maternos, associados a alta reatividade das porcas em relação à prole, com consequente elevação da taxa de mortalidade pós-parto (Rauw et al., 1998;Canario et al., 2014). Além disso, os suínos apresentam problemas semelhantes aos dos frangos de corte, com alta susceptibilidade ao estresse e a ocorrência de ataques cardíacos, problemas nas pernas causados por osteocondrose e problemas comportamentais, como o 'canibalismo' que pode ser caracterizado pela mordedura de cauda entre os animais do mesmo grupo (Rauw et al., 1998;Breuer et al., 2005). ...
... One important factor to prevent tail biting is provision of manipulable material to fulfil the behavioural need of pigs to explore (van de Weerd et al., 2006;Pedersen et al., 2014). A range of other risk factors has been identified and includes high stocking density (Moinard et al., 2003;Scollo et al., 2016), diet (Fraser et al., 1987;European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), 2007;Taylor et al., 2010), feed type and feed delivery system (Hunter et al., 2001;Moinard et al., 2003), slatted flooring, barn climate (EFSA, 2007;Taylor et al., 2010) as well as genetic and individual factors (Breuer et al., 2005;Brunberg et al., 2013). Hence, due to its multifactorial nature, tail biting can be difficult to avoid under production conditions where an inadequate environment is not unusual. ...
Article
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Tail biting in domestic pigs relates to a range of risk factors, primarily in the pigs’ environment. Preventive tail docking is widely used, and various experimental approaches suggest that docking reduces the risk of tail biting. However, whether the docking length affects the prevalence of tail biting outbreaks is less studied, as is how a shortened tail will affect pigs’ social behaviour. The aim of this study was to investigate how three different tail docking lengths, measured at docking, as well as retained intact tails (Short: 2.9 cm; Medium: 5.7 cm; Long: 7.5 cm; and Undocked) affected tail biting risk and behaviour directed at other finisher pigs with the same docking length treatment. Tail lesions were scored weekly, as was behaviour at pen level after introduction to finisher pens and until a potential outbreak of tail biting or slaughter. Pigs from four commercial herds (258 litters) entered the study. Before the pigs entered the finisher section and data collection started, some pigs were excluded, mainly due to tail biting outbreaks in the weaner section. The risk of a tail biting outbreak differed significantly between treatments (P=0.001), with a lowered risk of a tail biting outbreak in Short pens compared with Undocked (P
... Rohrer et al. (2013) found that pigs with a reactive coping style tended to eat fewer but longer meals per day. Breuer et al. (2005) found a positive genetic correlation between tail biting and lean tissue growth rate and a negative genetic correlation between tail biting O n L i n e F i r s t and backfat thickness. Brunberg et al. (2013) reported a genetic association between tail biting and fatness. ...
Article
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Male piglets are castrated primarily to avoid the unpleasant boar taint in meat, and additionally for the predisposition of castrates to accumulate fat and for their lower risk of developing unwanted behaviours. There are two main strategies available for withdrawing from surgical castration: one is immunocastration and the other is to raise entire male pigs or boars. Additionally, raising intact boars is more profitable because of the production of carcasses with lean meat and better feed conversion. Boars (compared to castrates) exhibit more aggressive, sexual, damaging social behaviour and reduced feeding behaviour with a lower prevalence of sickness behaviour as a result of good health and low susceptibility to chronic inflammation. In this review, the behaviours specific for boars as a result of sexual maturity are reviewed, with an overview of differences in the behaviour of surgically castrated barrows, immunocastrates and boars reared in group-housed systems. The raising of boars allows for good welfare of these animals in early life, but later, on reaching sexual maturity, the welfare of boars can be diminished because of their propensity to aggression and more mounting behaviour than castrates. Innovations in the breeding and management of boars are needed to improve their performance and to reduce welfare implications of these animals raised in social groups, and in particular to minimize deviant behaviours towards pen mates.
... A kutatók a farokrágási hajlam öröklődhetőségét is vizsgálták, amelyre a lapály fajta esetében h 2 = 0,27-es értéket kaptak, míg a nagy fehér serté- seknél nem találtak bizonyítékot a tulajdonság öröklődő voltára. Az egyedek farokrágási hajlama pozitívan korrelált az izomszövet növekedési erélyével és negatívan korrelált a hátszalonna vastagsággal (8). ...
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szerzők, szakirodalmi adatok alapján, áttekintik a farokrágás eltérő típusait, a kialakulásuk hátterében álló legfontosabb háttértényezőket, továbbá az egyedi és a csoport szintű megoldási lehetőségeket. A modern sertéstartás egyik legjelentősebb állatjóléti kihívása a farokrágás, és az abból keletkező károk enyhítése. A vaddisznók túlélését segítő ösztönös viselkedésformák a modern sertés fajtákban is megmaradtak, ugyanakkor az állatok életfeltételei mára alapvetően megváltoztak. Az állatokat természetellenes szociális közegben, zsúfoltan tartják. A takarmányozási körülmények is lényegesen eltérnek a természetestől.
... The majority of studies in this scoping review explored external influences and how they relate to TB occurrences, yet few studies explored genetic predispositions [42][43][44] or nutrition [15] as a precursor for TB behavior. Knowledge of specific genes, such as PDK4, which has been shown to be expressed differently in biter and victim pigs compared to neutral pigs (neither receiving nor performing biting behavior) [44], could encourage genetic companies to purposively select pigs which exhibit a more desirable gene expression. ...
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Tail-biting is globally recognized as a welfare concern for commercial swine production. Substantial research has been undertaken to identify risk factors and intervention methods to decrease and understand this vice. Tail-biting appears to be multifactorial and has proven difficult to predict and control. The primary objective of the scoping review was to identify and chart all available literature on the risk factors and interventions associated with tail-biting in pigs. A secondary objective was to identify gaps in the literature and identify the relevance for a systematic review. An online literature search of four databases, encompassing English, peer-reviewed and grey literature published from 1 January 1970 to 31 May 2019, was conducted. Relevance screening and charting of included articles were performed by two independent reviewers. A total of 465 citations were returned from the search strategy. Full-text screening was conducted on 118 articles, with 18 being excluded in the final stage. Interventions, possible risk factors, as well as successful and unsuccessful outcomes were important components of the scoping review. The risk factors and interventions pertaining to tail-biting were inconsistent, demonstrating the difficulty of inducing tail-biting in an experimental environment and the need for standardizing terms related to the behavior.
... [10,16,17] found lighter piglets to be more likely to bite pen mates and heavier piglets were bitten more frequently, whereas [18] found tail biters to be heavier than non-tail-biters. However, several authors failed to confirm significant correlations between a pigs' body weight and its frequency of performed tail biting [11,19,20]. ...
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Tail biting, a well-known problem in modern pig production, reduces pigs’ welfare and causes economic losses. It is influenced by several external and internal factors, such as housing condition, management, genetics, and age of the animals. Within the internal factors, the individual predisposition to tail biting is difficult to identify. In our study, we analyzed the manipulation behaviors of weaner pigs and their relationship with agonistic behaviors of the piglets during suckling to identify groups of piglets which showed similar suckling and rearing behaviors. In our experiment tail biting increased at the middle and end of rearing. Most animals were observed as both biters and victims of tail biting. During our observations, we found indications that tail-biting pigs showed mainly submissive behavior in teat disputes. These pigs might compensate their submissiveness by biting tails to chase other pigs from resources with restricted access, such as feed or enrichment material. Further research should consider more aspects of a pigs’ personality suitable for early identification of pigs predisposed for later tail biting. This early identification would allow intervention measures to be taken earlier, thereby reducing tail biting and its consequences.
... In addition to the activity-passivity axis of coping styles, as well as to other personality axes that are as yet unresearched in pigs, there are genetic differences in the propensity for tail biting (Breuer et al., 2004;Brunberg et al, 2011). It is not yet known whether these differences reflect personalitytype differences, i.e. different coping strategies, or whether a higher propensity is caused by a decifiency in coping ablity in general. ...
Chapter
The first weeks of a piglet's life affect its later behaviour and welfare in several ways. Normal development of the brain, behaviour and endocrine function is dependent on specific environmental inputs during early ontogeny, such as physical complexity of the environment and stable social bonds. Insufficient availability of such necessary modulators has long-term impacts on the development of stress regulation mechanisms, behavioural flexibility and social skills. Many abnormal behaviours with negative effects on welfare, such as tail biting and belly nosing, are partly caused by insufficient or detrimental aspects of the early environment. Several of the causal pathways and interactions between these effects are already known, but future research is expected to still discover many more.
... Tail biting is also frustrating for producers as its main risk factors vary between herds making it difficult to pinpoint the best preventive measures, as it is believed to have multifactorial causes [16]. Factors such as stress [17], restricted feed access [18][19][20][21], insufficient diet [15], high stocking density [16,22,23], early weaning [15], poor ventilation/incorrect temperature [24], breed [11,25,26] and lack of enrichment [27][28][29][30][31][32] are all hypothesised to play a part in causing biting outbreaks. Indeed 25 different hazards were used in the EFSA [33] risk assessment for tail biting, and 83 risk factors were identified by Taylor et al. [34] using a combination of literature review and expert opinion. ...
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Abstract Abnormal behaviours such as ear and tail biting of pigs is of significant welfare and economic concern. Currently, pig welfare legislation is under renewed focus by the EU commission and is likely to be enforced more thoroughly. The legislation prohibits routine tail docking and requires adequate enrichment to be provided. In Ireland, tail-docking is still the most utilised control mechanism to combat tail biting, but biting is still widespread even in tail-docked pigs. In addition, as pig farms are almost all fully slatted, bedding type material cannot be provided. Thus, the opinions, and practices of farmers in countries like Ireland, which may need to make significant adaptations to typical pig management systems soon, need to be considered and addressed. We carried out a survey of pig farmers during 2015 in order to gain a greater understanding of the extent of biting on Irish farms, perception on the most important preventive measures, current enrichment use and actions following outbreaks. Fifty-eight farmers from 21 Counties responded with an average herd size of 710 ± 597 sows (range 90–3000 sows). Only two farms had experienced no biting in the last year. Of the farms that had experienced tail biting (88%), 86% had also experienced ear biting. The most common concerns relating to biting were condemnation and reduced productivity of bitten pigs with both receiving an average score of 4 (most serious). Ear biting occurred most commonly in the 2nd stage (approximately 47–81 days from weaning) weaner and tail biting in the finishing stage. The most important preventive measures were felt to be taking care of animal health, restricting density, maintaining an even quality of feed/content and maintaining good air movement. Sixty-five percent of respondents added additional enrichment following an outbreak. Chains were the most common form of enrichment currently used (83%). Those not using chains favoured wood, toys and rope (17%). Identification of the most effective and accessible control and prevention measures both for the animals and for the farming community is thus essential. Improved understanding of the concerns and practices of producers, which this survey contributes to, is a first step towards this aim.
Chapter
Tail biting is probably the most serious behaviour problem in pigs, causing both economic losses and pig welfare concerns. A common way to reduce the damage caused by tail biting is to dock the pigs' tails. Tail docking is painful, and does not fully eradicate tail biting. Also, as tail biting is thought to mainly be due to stress caused by inadequate housing and management of the pigs, tail docking only reduces the symptom, not the cause of the problem. The focus should instead be on reducing the numerous risk factors behind tail biting. Tail biting occurs in different forms and is influenced by a wide range of risk factors. The risk factors, as well as their importance, vary from farm to farm. Examples from countries where tail docking has been totally banned indicate that it is possible to rear long-tailed pigs in intensive conditions.
Article
Over-selection for production traits has caused animal welfare problems such as feather pecking in hens, tail biting in pigs, and overly aggressive animals. In dogs, over-selection for appearance traits has caused neurological problems such as deafness. Both feather pecking and tail biting may be displaced foraging behaviors, because these behaviors are reduced by providing foraging materials such as straw. Another problem is hunger in broiler breeder hens and breeding sows. Animals that have been selected for rapid growth are also selected for a huge appetite. If breeder animals eat to satiation, they will become obese and have health problems. High-roughage feeds may improve welfare. Researchers suggest that new genetic breeding tools could be used to select against harmful behaviors and still have a productive animal. Breeders must avoid creating animals that will have poor welfare even when they are housed in the best environment.
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The potential advantages of using epidemiology in animal welfare research are substantial and are used with increased frequency. Collaboration between scientists of different fields, with different specific expertise is advantageous in the advancement of science. In this review, a framework to use epidemiology in animal welfare science is established. The different epidemiological study designs and analytical procedures are explored and put in an animal welfare scientific context. It is argued and demonstrated that epidemiology is used with advantage: in the identification of risk factors behind the development of maladaptation and abnormal behaviors; in the introduction of standardized procedures in research allowing comparisons between studies and facilitating the integration for evidence synthesis in systematic reviews and meta-analysis; by allowing animal welfare scientists to analyze complex settings such as farms or zoos. Mathematical modeling can also be used with advantage in risk assessment.
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The genetic improvement of production traits induces modifications in the behaviour of livestock. The capacity of adaptation of animals to environmental changes contributes to high levels of production under a wide range of farming conditions. Including behavioural criteria in selective breeding programmes could become appropriate. This review summarizes the knowledge on genetic parameters (heritability values, genes and QTL) for behaviour in cattle, pigs, poultry and fish, and genetic correlations with production traits. The genetic strategies to improve the behavioural capacity for adaptation differ between these livestock productions. Feeding activity has to be recorded. The locomotor capacity of broilers and dairy cattle, and the docility of beef cattle need to be improved. In Pigs, aggressiveness could be reduced and maternal behaviour should be enhanced. There is a greater emphasis on acute sensitivity to environmental stress in laying hens because maladaptive social behaviour can arise. Difficulties to develop such strategies refer to variability between populations or lines, and the correlation between reactivity in an experimental environment and in commercial farming conditions is generally unknown. There should be important interactions between genetics and the environment that are seldom assessed. These questions should be addressed before integrating behavioural traits in selective breeding programs.
Conference Paper
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Freedom from pain, fear and stress are key elements of animal welfare. Selection for behavioural traits could, together with changes in management and environment, improve the welfare of pigs. This review covers genetic studies of aggressive and social behaviour, fear and maternal behaviour. Aggressive behaviour after mixing causes welfare problems in many pig production systems. Although group housing during gestation improves average sow welfare, it can decrease the welfare of small, young and low-ranking sows. To perform aggressive behaviour (attack) has a much higher heritability than to receive aggressions, and selection for less aggressiveness seems possible. The behaviour of one animal depends, however, not only on its own genotype but also on the genotypes of all group members. Genetic effects can be separated into a direct effect and a group effect describing an animal's ability to influence the result of group members. Thus, production results can be used for an indirect genetic evaluation of behaviour. An alternative way is to record skin lesions. Number of lesions is a heritable trait correlated to aggressive behaviour. Fear of humans is a heritable trait in many species, including both growing pigs and sows. In sows, there is a genetic correlation between fear and piglet survival; less fear is associated with higher survival. Many other sow behaviours are important for piglet survival and consequently welfare: nest building, activity during farrowing, carefulness and reaction to screaming piglets, piglet savaging and nursing behaviour. Genetics of these behaviours will be reviewed and the possibilities of selection for pig behaviour will be discussed.
Article
Many scientists agree that health and productivity are not the only factors for determining whether or not an animal has good welfare. There is increasing emphasis on assessing the emotional or affective state of the animal. Jaak Panksepp, a neuroscientist, has identified the core emotional system, which is located in the subcortex of the brain in all mammals. These systems drive behavior. The core emotional systems are: FEAR, which makes animals avoid danger (negative emotion); PANIC, separation distress (negative emotion); SEEK, explore (positive emotion); RAGE (negative emotion); LUST-SEX (positive emotion); CARING, mother young nurturing (positive emotion); and PLAY (positive emotion). Examples of behavior initiated due to negative emotions would be attempts to escape, hiding, kicking, defecation during restraint, vocalization when separated from other animals, large flight zone, and biting. Behaviors initiated by positive emotional systems are exploration, play, normal grooming, dust bathing in chickens, and sex. Problems with abnormal behavior are also discussed.
Thesis
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PhD Thesis. Tail biting in pigs, i.e. the chewing on and biting in tails of conspecifics, is a multifactorial problem leading to impaired pig welfare and health and economic losses in pig farming. In many countries tail docking is used as a preventive measure, but there is increased societal concern about this practice. Therefore, there is an urgent need to understand, prevent, and reduce tail biting and other damaging behaviours directed at pen mates. The main aim of this thesis was to identify biological characteristics of barren and enriched housed pigs that relate to their tendency to develop these damaging oral manipulative behaviours. Tail biting started already early in life and pigs that displayed tail biting post-weaning seemed to stem from litters in which tail biting behaviour was already present. The onset of tail biting behaviour was different for individual pigs, and many pigs were not consistently tail biters throughout different phases of life. It was difficult to predict which pigs would develop tail biting based on their individual behaviour. Groups of pigs with tail biting problems were, however, more easy to identify by increased activity, and increased levels of pig and pen-directed oral manipulative behaviours. Subjecting pigs to an individual behavioural test showed that tail biters may be more fearful. Fearfulness in pigs appeared related to measures of the brain and blood serotonergic system. Moreover, measures of the blood serotonergic system seemed temporarily altered in tail biting pigs mainly during the phase of life in which they displayed this behaviour. Additionally, (tail) biting behaviour may be associated with higher (phenotypic and genotypic) production, such as higher growth. Growth of individual pigs can be affected by the other pigs in a pen. The heritable effect of one pig on the growth of another group member is referred to as an indirect genetic effect. Pigs with a relatively negative indirect genetic effect for growth displayed more biting behaviours, caused more tail damage and destroyed more of the available jute sacks. The presence of strawbedding or jute sacks as enrichment materials for rooting and chewing largely reduced damaging biting behaviours and, consequently, tail damage. Pigs that still develop tail biting behaviour in an enriched environment likely do so due to a (temporary) physiological problem, whereas in barren housed pigs the lack of suitable rooting and chewing material plays a large role. Tail biting behaviour in pigs thus seems to be caused by a variety of temporary states and more stable traits that influence their motivation to display foraging and exploratory behaviours. Therefore, the tale of (tail) biting behaviours in pigs needs a better understanding of underlying physiological processes. Preventing and reducing damaging biting behaviours in pigs requires a joint effort of science, industry and society to optimize housing conditions, feeding, management and breeding of pigs.
Article
The evolution of animal performance levels on French pig farms indicates a significant improvement of sow productivity, without any degradation of their longevity but with a tendency to a slight increase in piglet mortality. This improvement in performance results both from the genetic gains realised and the improved control of the environment of swine. However, such high performance levels imply high physiological demands for the sows and piglets, and it may be questioned whether the animals are able to face these changes. In sows, the problems of leg weakness and the increased risk of occurrence of nutritional deficit during lactation were identified. With a greater prolificacy, competition among piglets for nutrients, either in utero or during lactation, is enhanced. Although on-farm performance of fattening pigs has been improved, it still remains below the genetic potential for certain traits, indicating some problems of adaptation. In this context, the sensitivity of pigs to multifactorial diseases remains an important problem. In the future, animal robustness has to be considered while taking into account the expected evolution of pig production systems and changes in regulations. Getting more autonomous pigs, having improved resistance to diseases and higher ability to make use of more diversified feeding resources, could be perspectives for future research.
Article
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Tail biting is a multi-causal behavioural disorder in pigs. It is considered that the motivation behind it comes from the pig’s inability to express its species-specific behaviour, such as rooting or chewing. Therefore, animals redirect their behaviour onto other objects available to them, such as the ears or tails of other animals. Tail biting is a widespread phenomenon in breeding pigs, causing great economic losses and affecting the welfare of animals. This behavioural disorder has at least three different starting points, based on which it can be divided into three basic forms. The first is called ‘two-stage biting’, where in the first stage the pig gently holds the tail in the mouth and manipulates it without causing any visible tissue damage. This process proceeds to the second stage, where tail injury and consequent bleeding attracts other animals from the group, when the disorder suddenly escalates. The second form is called ‘sudden-strong biting’, and it is manifested as a sudden and strong attack of one pig against the tail of another. This form of the disorder results in immediate injuries, with possible partial or complete loss of the tail. This form of biting is often determined as cannibalism. The third form of this behavioural disorder is called ‘obsessive biting’. It implies strong and consistent biting of tails by one or several animals in the group. Animals that show this form of behaviour are constantly in search of a victim, and for this reason, this form of tail biting quickly results in a great number of injuries. Possible causes for the development of this disorder include a range of factors, such as health status, inadequate housing, boredom, gender, stress, genetics and insufficient or improper nutrition, as outlined in the literature. Comparison of data from different studies has been hampered by the lack of uniform terminology and the many different definitions of this disorder. This review presents the current findings on the tail-biting phenomena in pigs, and consider the various factors of the environment and husbandry that can affect its expression and complexity
Article
This study verified the effect of straw blocks on the behavior and growth of finishing pigs and possible interactions with the genetic background (boar type). A total of 359 finishing pigs, which were offspring from different boar types, were housed in gender-mixed pens with slatted floors. Half of these pigs descended from sires selected for better carcass traits and lower growth rates (type C) and the other half from sires selected for better growth and poorer carcass traits (type G). The offspring of these two boar types were spread equally over control (only a chain) and treatment groups (chain and straw blocks in a dispenser). Direct individual behavioral observations were carried out once a week and the presence of lesions on the body was verified every two weeks. Individual weights were recorded at different weighing moments. Lesions on organs and carcass traits were obtained after slaughter.
Thesis
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This study aimed to evaluate behavior and sexual performance of male pigs from purebred and crossbred, raised with and without the use of environmental enrichment during the growth phase. The study was divided into two steps comprising the animals' growth phase and training for semen collection. In the growth phase 128 males were housed in an enriched or in a sterile environment. As environmental enrichment, hanging chains, a hanging five-liter gallon and a fifty-liter gallon released on the floor were used. These objects were alternately offered and each one was available in the pen for a period of 30 days. In the first step, animal behavior, injury score and body weight were recorded. After the growth phase, 32 animals approved in genetic screening were randomized to be evaluated during training for semen collection. The training took place for six consecutive days and each animal was trained three times on alternate days. During the training for semen collection, animal behavior, human-animal relationship, ejaculated semen volume, testosterone and cortisol levels were registered. As a response during the growth phase, even using a combination of enrichments, pigs quickly got used to them and manipulation frequency decreased after the first period for all objects. We observed that the enriched environment was effective in reducing agonistic behavior and biting of tail and ear in animals of pure and mixed lines, and therefore the number and severity of skin lesions were reduced. During the training for semen collection, results showed that sexual behavior of animals was influenced by genetic lines, therefore we observed that males of mixed lines had greater ease during training for semen collection and had a higher libido score average, differing from the pure lines (P<0,001). There was no difference in the libido score average between treatments with and without environmental enrichment (P=0,276), however the treatment with environmental enrichment had fewer trained animals. Thus, results indicate that enriched environment with a combination of enrichment objects is an effective strategy to increase exploratory behavior and to reduce agonistic and abnormal behaviors during the growth phase. However, animals raised in enriched environments had a worse sexual performance during the training for semen collection.
Chapter
Research in behavioral genetics is important for pig welfare. Consequences of the ongoing selection for high production on pigs’ behavior need to be studied, as well as possibilities to select directly for behavioral traits. The Farm Animal Welfare Council’s definition of welfare is based on five freedoms related to hunger and thirst, discomfort, pain, injury or disease, fear and distress, and normal behavior. All these freedoms are associated with pig behavior. Pig breeding programs could be further developed by including behavioral traits relevant for welfare.
Chapter
Overselection for production traits has caused animal welfare problems such as feather pecking in hens, tail biting in pigs, and overly aggressive animals. In dogs, overselection for appearance traits has caused neurological problems such as deafness. Both feather pecking and tail biting may be displaced foraging behaviors, because these behaviors are reduced by providing foraging materials such as straw. Another problem is hunger in broiler breeder hens and breeding sows. Animals that have been selected for rapid growth are also selected for a huge appetite. If breeder animals eat to satiation, they will become obese and have health problems. High-roughage feeds may improve welfare. Researchers suggest that new genetic breeding tools could be used to select against harmful behaviors and still have a productive animal. Breeders must avoid creating animals that will have poor welfare even when they are housed in the best environment.
Chapter
This book contains chapters on the behaviour and welfare of domestic animals, including dogs, cats, rabbits, furbearing animals, fishes, turkeys, ducks, geese and other livestock. The 36 chapters are divided into 6 main sections that discuss concepts and methods of measuring behaviour, organization of behaviour, social and reproductive behaviour, early and parental behaviour and abnormal behaviour management in relation to animal welfare.
Article
Tail-biting and other harmful social behaviours are a common problem on pig farms. The aims of the current experiment were (1) to investigate the genetic component of harmful social behaviours such as tail-biting by assessing breed differences, and (2) to further investigate the reliability and predictability of a test, ‘the tail-chew test’, previously identified as potentially being capable of predicting a pig’s predisposition for tail- and ear-biting. The behaviour of three pig breeds (Large White (LW), Landrace (LR), Duroc (DR)), with 100 pigs per breed, was observed in a ‘tail-chew test’, and by observing the performance of harmful social behaviour directed to pen mates in flat deck pens after weaning. The tail-chew test, carried out on two consecutive days pre-weaning, involved observing the behaviour of individual pigs towards two suspended ropes. Pigs were weaned at 28 days and the occurrence of harmful social behaviour was recorded 4 weeks later over 2 consecutive days (1h per day) using a group ‘period occurrence’ scanning method. Breed had a significant effect on rope-directed behaviour in the tail-chew test and on harmful social behaviour. DR pigs interacted with the ropes in the tail-chew test more often (median 23.0 vs 19.0 and 17.5 times in 20min, P
Article
Canvas models, about the size of a pig's tail, were impregnated with pigs' blood or left plain, and were presented to pigs for 12 days in a 2-choice preference test. The pigs showed large, consistent, individual differences in response: some pigs chewed the models continuously while others chewed only slightly; some chewed much more on the blood-covered model, while others showed no preference. On average, the pigs chewed considerably more on the blood-covered model than on the plain one. In a second experiment, pigs presented with a choice test involving a blood-covered and a plain model showed a significant increase in chewing over a baseline level seen with plain models only. It is suggested that this strong but highly variable response to blood could explain how a relatively minor tail injury can stimulate a large but unpredictable increase in tail-biting among pigs.
Article
In three populations of Dutch Landrace (DL), Duroc and (Duroc*DL) sows, vigorously aggressive behaviour of about 8% of primiparous sows against their own piglets during or immediately after farrowing resulted in a decrease of litter size at weaning of almost two piglets per litter. Genetic analysis was performed on this trait, scored as an all-or-none characteristic (the sow is aggressive or not). In the purebred populations, heritability (h2) estimates from paternal half sib (PHS) and from daughter-dam (DD) analysis ranged between 0.4 and 0.9, indicating significant additive genetic effects; PHS and DD h2 estimates were negative in the crossbred sow population. It is concluded that sow aggressiveness is a heritable character.
Article
Prior to weaning, many piglets die from crushing, chilling, starvation diarrhea and weakness. Piglets often die from crushing by the sow when she lies down after sitting. The objective of this study was to determine the amount of heritable genetic variation of sitting behavior. A total of 312 pigs from 62 litters were given ad libitum feed and water. Frequency and occurrence of sitting were summarized from 24-h video records. Heritability estimates (h2) were calculated for these traits using a full-sib analysis. The h2 for the occurrence of sitting was 0.41 ± 0.14 and for frequency of sitting was 0.43 ± 0.14. Genetic correlation between frequency and occurrence of sitting was 0.84 and the phenotypic correlation was 0.68 (P < 0.01). Sitting behavior was moderately to highly heritable indicating possible favorable selection against occurrence of this trait. Genetic selection against sow sitting could potentially decrease mortality rates among piglets, increase production and decrease costs for pork producers.
Article
Sixty-four Large White pigs were kept, from 10 to 22 weeks of age, in groups of 8 or 16, with or without straw bedding, at a stocking rate of 0 · 6 sq metres per pig and fed either ad libitum or restricted on a supposed tail-biting ration made up of 80 parts maize meal, 14 parts soya bean meal plus a vitamin/mineral supplement (14 · 5 per cent protein, 3 · 0 per cent fibre, 3 · 0 per cent oil). Thirty-two other Large White pigs of the same age range were kept in the same manner but fed on a “control” commercial pig fattening ration. There were no cases of tail-biting in any of the pigs, not even when two of the groups of 16 animals being fed the maize/soya bean ration were inadvertently exposed to atmospheric ammonia levels of 80 + p.p.m. and atmospheric carbon dioxide levels of 0 · 13 per cent.
Article
Tail-biting and cannibalism are not identical conditions. Cannibalism may have many causes. It can also be a sequel to tail-biting. Tail-biting implies that a single pig grabs a tail transversely in its mouth. Groups of pigs never chase a single animal as is the habit in cannibalism.
Article
The position and incidence of all the abscesses detected during post mortem inspection of 75,130 bacon weight pigs were recorded. Abscesses were detected at one site only in 2.87 per cent of the carcases examined, and at more than one site in 0.26 per cent of the carcases. Tail biting was the cause of the infection in 61.7 per cent of all the carcases with lesions at more than one site. In almost all cases there was a statistically significant interrelationship between the visible abscesses at different sites.
Article
In comparison to 29 non bitten animals, severe tail biting was found to decrease the daily weight gain (DWG) by 25% in 8 fattening pigs during the period of biting. However, when comparing the weight gain of the lifetime between bitten and non bitten pigs, no influence of the tail biting was found. It is of interest that severely wounded pigs were parenterally treated with prokainpenicillin G for 3 consecutive days in connection with the tail biting, which could be suggested to promote the growth by reducing the influence of infections gained by the tail biting as well as of other infections present in herds rearing conventional pigs. Despite penicillin treatment, abscesses were more frequently recorded in tail bitten pigs than in non bitten animals. The tail biting was not equally distributed between the sexes, as barrows were more frequently bitten than gilts. Among the unbitten pigs, barrows were also found to grow faster than gilts. Indeed, when comparing tail bitten and non bitten barrows, a negative influence of tail biting on DWG was not only shown during the period of biting, but could also be monitored as a reduced DWG from that period until slaughter by 11% and during lifetime by 5% (the tail bitten gilts were too few to allow statistical calculations). These results clearly indicate that tail biting affects the growth rate of the lifetime despite penicillin treatment. However, it should be stressed that this decreased lifetime DWG may not be monitored when evaluating abattoir data because the sex distribution of the pigs may not be known in such materials.
Article
The tail length (docked, tipped or undocked) and tail status (bitten or unbitten) of 27,870 pigs from 450 units was recorded at six UK abattoirs. A farm survey of the final finishing stage was used to investigate the relationship between management practice and tail biting. This showed that docking was the most important factor influencing the probability of being not bitten, with 2.4% of docked and 8.5% of long-tailed pigs being tail-bitten. The following factors reduced the probability of long-tailed pigs being tail-bitten; light straw provision, use of natural ventilation or artificially controlled natural ventilation (ACNV), mixed sex grouping, meal or liquid feeding, and use of double or multi-space feeders. Docked and long-tailed pigs provided with light straw and natural ventilation/ACNV had levels of tail biting of 1.2% and 4.3% respectively; 3.9% of docked pigs with artificial ventilation and no straw were tail-bitten. Long-tailed pigs fed via double or multi-space feeders also had 3.9% of tails bitten.
Article
One of the costly and welfare-reducing problems in modern pig production is tail biting. Tail biting is an abnormal behaviour, characterized by one pig's dental manipulation of another pig's tail. Tail biting can be classified into two groups: the pre-injury stage, before any wound on the tail is present, and the injury stage, where the tail is wounded and bleeding. Tail biting in the injury stage will reduce welfare of the bitten pig and the possible spread of infection is a health as well as welfare problem. The pigs that become tail biters may also suffer, because they are frustrated due to living in a stressful environment. This frustration may result in an excessive motivation for biting the tails of pen mates. This review aims to summarize recent research and theories in relation to tail biting.
The heritability of harmful social behaviour and clinical tail biting in pigs A postal survey of tail docking and tail biting in south west England Heritability of threshold characters
  • K Breuer
  • M E M Sutcliffe
  • J T Mercer
  • K A Rance
  • V E Beattie
  • I A Sneddon
  • S A Edwards
Breuer, K., Sutcliffe, M.E.M., Mercer, J.T., Rance, K.A., Beattie, V.E., Sneddon, I.A., Edwards, S.A., 2003b. The heritability of harmful social behaviour and clinical tail biting in pigs. Proc. 54th Annual Meeting of the European Association of Animal Production, Rome, Paper GII, vol. 11. Chambers, C., Powell, L., Wilson, E., Green, L.E., 1994. A postal survey of tail docking and tail biting in south west England. Proc. 13th International Pig Veterinary Society Congress, Bangkok, Thailand. Dempster, E.R., Lerner, I.M., 1950. Heritability of threshold characters. Genetics 35, 212 – 236.
The Genetics of the Pig Mouth-based anomalous syndromes
  • M F Rothschild
  • A Ruvinsky
Rothschild, M.F., Ruvinsky, A., 1988. The Genetics of the Pig. CAB International, Wallingford. Sambraus, H.H., 1985. Mouth-based anomalous syndromes. World Animal Science, A5, Ethology of Farm Animals, pp. 391 – 422.
Abnormal behaviour: addressed to another animal. Farm Animal Behaviour and Welfare
  • A F Fraser
  • D M Broom
Fraser, A.F., Broom, D.M., 1990. Abnormal behaviour: addressed to another animal. Farm Animal Behaviour and Welfare. Bailliere Tindal, London, UK, pp. 323 – 334.
The heritability of harmful social behaviour and clinical tail biting in pigs
  • Breuer
Review: tail biting in pigs
  • Schroder-Petersen
Mouth-based anomalous syndromes
  • Sambraus