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Animal health and welfare in organic Euro-pean pig production: State of the art and challenges for the future, based on a North-western European questionnaire survey

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  • Pigs
  • Health And Welfare
  • Medicine


Sixty organic pig producers from Denmark, UK, the Netherlands, Germany, and Sweden have completed a questionnaire concerning health and welfare problems in organic sow herds. Half the farmers perceived they had a problem with piglet mortality. The most common cause of death was crushing of piglets by the sow, but also piglets that were weak at birth and shortage of milk in the sow caused problems in many herds. Weaning diarrhoea concerned 25 % of the farmers, mainly in Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands; and respiratory diseases caused prob-lems in 43 % of the farms, especially in the Nether-lands. Diarrhoea was the major cause of death in Danish weaned pigs; in the Netherlands they were more likely to die from respiratory diseases, while insufficient feed intake in weaned pigs was a bigger problem than infectious diseases in the UK. Future research should focus on the development of production facilities and monitoring systems, as well as optimisation in feeding, hygiene, and animal handling.

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