Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 427287
Title Attitudes of Dutch Pig Farmers Towards Tail Biting and Tail Docking
Author(s) Bracke, M.B.M.; Lauwere, C.C. de; Wind, S.M.M.; Zonderland, J.J.
Source Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 26 (2013)4. - ISSN 1187-7863 - p. 847 - 868.
Department(s) LR - Backoffice
LEI Agricultural sector & entrepreneurship
Livestock Research
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2013
Keyword(s) animal-welfare - semantic model - risk
Abstract The Dutch policy objective of a fully sustainable livestock sector without mutilations by 2023 is not compatible with the routine practice of tail docking to minimize the risk of tail biting. To examine farmer attitudes towards docking, a telephone survey was conducted among 487 conventional and 33 organic Dutch pig farmers. “Biting” (of tails, ears, or limbs) was identified by the farmers as a main welfare problem in pig farming. About half of the farmers reported to have no tail biting problems in their own herd. When farmers did report problems, they most often reported figures between 1 and 5 % of the animals. High incidences of tail biting were anticipated when trying to keep undocked pigs. Enrichment materials used in the conventional sector included mainly chains (52–63 % of the farms) and hanging rubber or plastic balls (22–30 %). Straw, sawdust, or wood shavings was hardly provided in conventional pig farming (2–3 %), in contrast to organic farming (88–100 % of farms). Conventional pig farmers feel a curly tail is not very important for sustainable pig farming. They consider enrichment to be less effective and tail docking to be less stressful for them and their piglets than their organic colleagues do. Pig farmers identified climate as a main risk factor for tail biting as opposed to enrichment. The objective of reducing routine tail docking requires solutions for dealing with tail biting problems at the farm level. In this process, transfer of scientific knowledge about enrichment materials and other measures to prevent and cure tail biting is critical, as is a change in farmer attitudes and awareness of the moral issues involved
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