Tail biting incidence among undocked, growing-finishing pigs in Norway
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Tail biting is one of the most important animal welfare problems in pig fattening in many countries. As preventative method tail docking has been used and is still used throughout the world. In Norway and some other countries such as Sweden and Finland, docking of tails is forbidden and can only be performed if it's motivated from a veterinary medical perspective. In this study the tail biting incidence among undocked Norwegian pigs kept in small scale, traditional farms was examined. A total of 420 Large white x Yorkshire x Duroc x Hampshire pigs from 10 different farms took part in the survey. The farms were divided into two groups according to the average percentage of tail bitten pigs present on each farm. The two groups were compared to reveal differences that could explain why some farms had higher incidence of tail biting than the others.Every farm was visited in person, at each visit the owner or the manager of the unit was interviewed and the unit inspected. Data was collected and compared to the other farms. Of important findings was the provision of straw and enrichment material. This was highly correlated with low incidence of tail biting. In addition, a high stocking density seemed to have an influencing effect on the pig to pig manipulation, consequently leading to tail biting outbreaks. Farms with a good manager attitude towards prevention and action, had less problems with tail biting. The study proved that it is possible to keep intact pigs if the right environmental conditions are given in addition to a good managing system.