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Lesions in organic/free-range pigs and those raised indoors

L. Alban, J. V. Petersen, M. E. Busch

IT has been suggested that pigs raised under less intensive production conditions, such as organic or free-range pigs, have higher standards of welfare compared with those raised under conventional indoor conditions. This Danish study aimed to compare health at slaughter of finishing pigs raised in organic/free-range production systems and those raised in conventional systems.

Meat inspection records from 2012 to 2013 were obtained from the Danish slaughterhouse database. Data on 201,160 organic/free-range pigs and 1,173,213 conventionally raised finishing pigs were analysed.

When the total number of lesions were compared, there was no significant difference between the two types of system, with 39.4 per cent of organic/free-range pigs, and 39.1 per cent of conventionally raised pigs, having some kind of lesion. However, when all lesions with the exception of chronic pleuritis were taken into consideration, the prevalence of lesions in organic/free-range pigs was 20.3 per cent compared to 15.2 per cent in conventionally produced pigs. Most types of lesion were infrequent, being reported …

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