Pigs’ capacity to experience feelings and to suffer from tail lesion, ear lesion and lameness: Exploring citizens and pig farm and abattoir workers’ knowledge and perceptions

Dayane Lemos Teixeira, Laura C. Salazar, Daniel Enriquez-Hidalgo, Maria José Hötzel, Benito Soto-Blanco (Editor)

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Abstract

The aim of this study was to gain insight into the perceptions of pig farm and abattoir workers as well as lay citizens regarding (1) sentience and (2) positive (intelligent and friendly) and negative (gluttonous, stubborn and dirty) attributes of pigs. We also aimed to investigate the (3) knowledge and perceptions of pig farm and abattoir workers on tail lesion, ear lesion and lameness in pigs and (4) the opinion of lay citizens regarding the likelihood of tail lesions, ear lesions, and lameness causing suffering in pigs and affecting meat quality. Chilean pig farm workers (n = 116), pig abattoir workers (n = 95), and lay citizens (n = 708) were invited on farm, at the abattoir and in public places, respectively, to participate in a survey. Answers were indicated using a 5-point Likert scale (0 = totally disagree; 4 = totally agree). Data were analysed using generalized linear models, including recruitment place and socio-demographic data as predictor variables. Female and lay citizens attributed pigs a higher capacity to experience feelings than male participants and pig farm and abattoir workers (p < 0.05). Lay citizens and workers recruited on farm described pigs as being more intelligent and friendly than those workers recruited at the abattoir (p < 0.001); recruitment place and sex were not associated with participants’ perception regarding negative attributes of pigs (p > 0.05). Most lay citizens considered that tail lesions, ear lesions and lameness are likely to cause suffering in pigs and older participants had higher odds of agreeing that tail and ear lesions are likely to affect meat quality (p < 0.05). Finally, the risk factors for tail lesion, ear lesions and lameness pointed out by pig farm and abattoir workers is in line with what has been suggested by experts. Our findings contribute to understand the perception and values of all stakeholders regarding animal welfare, as it is crucial to improve the sustainability of animal production systems.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPLoS One
Volume18
Issue number5
Early online date25 May 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Keywords

  • Abattoirs
  • Animal Welfare
  • Animals
  • Farms
  • Female
  • Gait
  • Lameness, Animal/pathology
  • Male
  • Swine
  • Tail/pathology

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