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Piglet mortality and morbidity: Inevitable or unacceptable?

Lookup NU author(s): Emerita Professor Sandra Edwards


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© 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Piglet mortality is a problem with complex aetiology, predisposed by the natural biology of a polytocous species which produces multiple offspring allocated disproportionate resources both in the pre- and post-natal environment. Intensive sibling rivalry to acquire limited uterine resources pre-natally, and then limited nutrients post-natally, leads to a high risk of mortality for the weakest among the offspring. In the domestic pig these risks have been exacerbated by intensive selection for economic traits such as prolificacy and leanness. Thus it would seem a certain amount of mortality is to be expected. The acceptability of death can be a subject of much ethical debate. However, even if death itself is not considered a welfare issue, the manner of dying is, particularly when it involves pain and/or suffering. Thus, whilst the life history strategy of the pig encompasses mortality risk, at what point does the inevitable become unacceptable for animal welfare?.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Baxter EM, Edwards SA

Publication type: Book Chapter

Publication status: Published

Book Title: Advances in Pig Welfare

Year: 2017

Pages: 73-100

Online publication date: 10/11/2017

Acceptance date: 02/04/2016

Publisher: Elsevier Inc.


DOI: 10.1016/B978-0-08-101012-9.00003-4

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9780081011195