Breeding for pig welfare: Opportunities and challenges

SP Turner, Irene Camerlink, EM Baxter, RB D'Eath, S Desire, R Roehe

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Acceptable animal welfare is an integral part of sustainability. Selective breeding for improved animal welfare can benefit the economic and environmental aspects of pig farming, as well as being of direct benefit to the animal itself. Several traits have major welfare consequences but have proved difficult to improve through management change alone. Here we consider how past selection for productivity has affected welfare and give three examples of the state of the art in selective breeding aimed at improving welfare traits in their own right. Selection for complex welfare-relevant traits poses practical, economic and ethical challenges. Current and emerging innovations will significantly reduce the economic and practical barriers to breeding and allow efficient selection for traits that previously have been too expensive to record. Examples will be given of the new phenotyping techniques and genetic methodologies that are expanding the range of welfare traits that selection pressure can be exerted upon.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Pig Welfare
PublisherWoodhead Publishing
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9780323856768
ISBN (Print)9780323915731
Publication statusFirst published - 6 Oct 2023


  • Aggression
  • Selective breeding
  • Survival
  • Tail biting
  • Welfare


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