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Animal-based welfare measurements collected in 31 farms in the Republic of Ireland adapted from the Welfare Quality protocol

 
Welfare theme Welfare criteria Animal-based measure
Good feeding Absence of prolonged hunger Body condition score
Good housing Comfort around resting Bursitis, absence of manure on the body1
Thermal comfort Shivering, panting, huddling2
Good health Absence of injuries Lameness, skin lesions, tail lesions, ear lesions, flank lesions
Absence of diseases Mortality3, coughing4, sneezing4, pumping, twisted snouts, rectal prolapse, scouring1, skin condition, ruptures and hernia
1Recorded on pen level only.
2Expressed as proportion of resting pigs.
3Data collected from herd performance data.
4Frequency during 5 min observation. All other measures are assessed by recording the percentage of pigs affected in a pen.



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Description of herd performance parameters collected from the Teagasc eProfit Monitor for the period January to June 2015, and the average no. of pigs per batch observed at the abattoir of the 31 study farms

 
Performance parameters N Mean SE Min Max
Herd size 31 750.7 103.00 111 2397
Sow mortality, % 29 4.9 0.46 0.5 11.3
Piglet mortality, % 29 10.2 0.62 3.6 17.9
Weaner mortality, % 29 2.3 0.26 0.78 7.38
Finisher mortality, % 29 1.9 0.13 0.73 3.57
Average daily gain, g 28 722.2 9.52 623 807
Feed conversion ratio 28 2.37 0.022 2.18 2.64
Age at sale, d 28 168.5 2.36 141 191
Average live weight, kg 29 107.5 0.86 96.3 116



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Descriptive statistics of the prevalence (%) of pigs affected per batch by the different carcass lesion outcomes

 
Carcass lesions Mean SE Min Max
Tail lesions (n = 6,327)
    Score 0 26.7 1.29 8.2 46.9
    Score 1 65.3 1.03 53.1 74.7
    Score 2 6.7 1.20 0.0 34.3
    Score ≥ 3 1.2 0.32 0.0 7.0
Skin lesions (n = 6,334)
    Score 0 30.9 2.84 6.6 66.5
    Score 1 52.2 1.92 30.0 75.5
    Score 2 15.7 1.56 3.5 40.0
    Score 3 1.2 0.21 0.0 3.4



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Results of linear regression models for prevalence of poor body condition in the first weaner stage (P < 0.01), bursitis in the second weaning stage (P < 0.01), huddling in the first weaner stage (P < 0.05), severe tail lesions in the finisher stage (P < 0.01), and coughing/pig in the second weaner stage (P < 0.001). The estimate and associated P-value of the prevalence of the different carcass lesion outcomes (%) which were retained in the final model are presented, including the coefficient of determination (R2) for the model

 
Welfare outcome Predictor Estimate (SE) P-value R2
Poor body condition Intercept 15.9 (4.61) 0.30
Tail lesion score 1 –0.2 (0.07) 0.016
Skin lesion score 3 0.7 (0.34) 0.063
Bursitis Intercept 1.4 (0.18) 0.28
Skin lesion score 2 0.04 (0.011) 0.004
Skin lesion score 3 –0.22 (0.087) 0.019
Huddling Intercept –1.9 (1.65) 0.30
Tail lesion score 1 0.05 (0.022) 0.02
Skin lesion score 1 –0.02 (0.011) 0.16
Skin lesion score 3 0.20 (0.106) 0.07
Severe tail lesions Intercept 7.72 (3.750) 0.31
Tail lesion score 1 –0.10 (0.056) 0.09
Tail lesion score ≥ 3 0.48 (0.184) 0.02
Coughing/pig Intercept 0.065 (0.0191) 0.45
Skin lesion score 1 –0.001 (0.0004) 0.0023
Skin lesion score 2 0.002 (0.0005) 0.0002
Skin lesion score 3 –0.010 (0.0037) 0.0095



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Performance [area under the curve (AUC) and 95% CI], sensitivity (Se) and specificity (Sp) at the optimal cut-off value of carcass lesions used to predict the presence of problem farms where the prevalence of the welfare outcome on farm exceeded the 75th percentile of the study farms (poor body condition in the first weaner stage, bursitis in the second weaner stage, huddling in the first weaner stage, severe tail lesions in the finisher stage and frequency of coughing in the second weaner stage)

 
Welfare outcome AUC (95% CI) Se, % Sp, % Optimal cut-off value, %
Poor body condition 0.80 (0.58 to 1.00) 75 87 62.4 Tail score 1
Bursitis 0.82 (0.67 to 0.97) 100 70 14.3 Skin score 2
Huddling 0.61 (0.40 to 0.83)1 88 61 49.1 Skin score 1
Severe tail lesions 0.81 (0.62 to 1.00) 88 74 0.98 Tail score ≥ 3
Coughing/pig 0.71 (0.45 to 0.96)1 100 50 44.0 Skin score1
1Area under the curve (AUC) was not significantly (P > 0.05) higher than 0.5