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Preparatory work for the future development of animal based measures for assessing the welfare of pigs - Report 1: Preparatory work for the future development of animal based measures for assessing the welfare of sow, boar and piglet including aspects related to pig castration


The present document has been produced and adopted by the bodies identified above as authors. In accordance with Article 36 of Regulation (EC) No 178/2002, this task has been carried out exclusively by the authors in the context of a grant agreement between the European Food Safety Authority and the authors. The present document is published complying with the transparency principle to which the European Food Safety Authority is subject. It may not be considered as an output adopted by EFSA. EFSA reserves its rights, view and position as regards the issues addressed and the conclusions reached in the present document, without prejudice to the rights of the authors.


The EFSA Animal Health and Welfare panel is requested to develop several scientific opinions concerning animal based measures to assess the welfare of livestock animals. Before this work can start, it is important that conclusions and recommendations of the EFSA scientific opinions are up to date. The main objective of this report is to review the pig welfare literature to identify gaps and potential areas to strengthen or amend two recent pig welfare opinions: one on Sows, boars and piglets (2007) and the other on Castration (2004). The literature review was done by a group of authors and reviewers, under the supervision of an editorial team. Over 400 new scientific references are quoted. Regarding the first opinion, this review presents 18 new or revised conclusions. In addition, it suggests several new recommendations. These include suggestions for appropriate breeding goals to reduce piglet mortality as well as aggression between sows. Furthermore, attention is drawn to progress made in the use of loose farrowing systems. Finally, the recommendations also point to the increased knowledge on housing and management aspects of introducing sows to group housing systems and the need to develop better management for large litters of piglets. Regarding the second opinion, it draws 8 conclusions. The recommendations associated with these relate to encouraging results regarding the effectiveness of immunocastration and progress made in the processing of tainted meat. The report also recommends that a standard method to quantify skatole and androstenone should be agreed, and that further efforts should be made to develop on line testing of carcasses to detect boar taint.