Lameness, tail lesions, body lesions, hospitalisation and enrichment use were identified as suitable indicators of finisher pigs’ wellbeing in pilot trials by BPEX and the University of Bristol. Sows will also be assessed for body condition score, shoulder and vulva lesions.
These indicators will provide a starting point for vets and producers to discuss whether there are any aspects of the pigs’ environment or management that could be changed to further improve welfare and productivity.
The project aims to establish benchmarks for real pig welfare that work across all types of production system. Around 20 pig vets will make assessments on 180 commercial pig farms, starting early next year. A total of 360 farm visits will be made to gather the information required over time.