Piglet mortality and morbidity: Inevitable or unacceptable?

Emma M Baxter*, Sandra A Edwards

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

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?.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Pig Welfare
EditorsMarek Spinka
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Chapter3
Pages73-100
Number of pages28
ISBN (Electronic)9780081011195
ISBN (Print)9780081010129
DOIs
Publication statusPrint publication - 1 Jan 2018

Fingerprint

morbidity
piglets
Morbidity
Mortality
death
Animal Welfare
Sus scrofa
swine
Thinness
Psychological Stress
animal welfare
etiology
Siblings
pain
Swine
Economics
life history
Pain
Food
Biological Sciences

Keywords

  • Ethics
  • Farrowing
  • Genetics
  • Management
  • Mother-offspring interaction
  • Piglet survival
  • Prolificacy
  • Welfare

Cite this

Baxter, E. M., & Edwards, S. A. (2018). Piglet mortality and morbidity: Inevitable or unacceptable? In M. Spinka (Ed.), Advances in Pig Welfare (pp. 73-100). Elsevier Inc.. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-08-101012-9.00003-4
Baxter, Emma M ; Edwards, Sandra A. / Piglet mortality and morbidity: Inevitable or unacceptable?. Advances in Pig Welfare. editor / Marek Spinka. Elsevier Inc., 2018. pp. 73-100
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Baxter, EM & Edwards, SA 2018, Piglet mortality and morbidity: Inevitable or unacceptable? in M Spinka (ed.), Advances in Pig Welfare. Elsevier Inc., pp. 73-100. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-08-101012-9.00003-4

Piglet mortality and morbidity: Inevitable or unacceptable? / Baxter, Emma M; Edwards, Sandra A.

Advances in Pig Welfare. ed. / Marek Spinka. Elsevier Inc., 2018. p. 73-100.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

TY - CHAP

T1 - Piglet mortality and morbidity: Inevitable or unacceptable?

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AU - Edwards, Sandra A

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N2 - 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?.

AB - 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?.

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KW - Farrowing

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KW - Management

KW - Mother-offspring interaction

KW - Piglet survival

KW - Prolificacy

KW - Welfare

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DO - 10.1016/B978-0-08-101012-9.00003-4

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SN - 9780081010129

SP - 73

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BT - Advances in Pig Welfare

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PB - Elsevier Inc.

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Baxter EM, Edwards SA. Piglet mortality and morbidity: Inevitable or unacceptable? In Spinka M, editor, Advances in Pig Welfare. Elsevier Inc. 2018. p. 73-100 https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-08-101012-9.00003-4