Articles | Volume 52, issue 4
10 Oct 2009
 | 10 Oct 2009

Bewertung von Wohlbefinden in der praktischen Nutztierhaltung – Diskussion der Kriterienauswahl am Beispiel Mastschweinehaltung

R. E. F. Weber-Jonkheer and A. Valle Zárate

Abstract. Title of the paper: Evaluating welfare in practical farm animal husbandry – discussion of criteria selection using the example of fattening pig husbandry
In the evaluation of animal welfare under practical husbandry conditions – beside a clear definition of welfare – selection of indicators plays an important role. Using the example of fattening pig husbandry, the usefulness of physiological, immunological and pathological, ethological, and technical criteria of husbandry conditions is discussed. While physiological and immunological parameters can lead to findings about stress reactions under controlled circumstances their direct transfer to practical conditions is hardly possible. On the contrary, ethological indicators as outer signs of inner states can be recorded most reliable. Beside stereotypies and aberrant behaviour as clear signs of reduced welfare, especially in barren environments, the performance of species-specific behaviour can point to a positive influence on welfare. Behavioural observations over a longer period of time considering plenty of (ethological) indicators build a solid base for selection of methods. For further interpretation of results behavioural data should be supplemented by parameters which can be recorded without major distraction of the animals: general condition of the animal including injuries and soiling, performance, technical data of the husbandry conditions as well as the increasingly important evaluation of carcasses.