Weekly Overview: Pig Grunts Identify Personality, Welfare

ANALYSIS - New research from the University of Lincoln, UK, and Queens University Belfast has found that the grunts made by pigs can be linked to personality and welfare.
calendar icon 18 July 2016
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The study involved 72 male and female juvenile pigs. Half were housed in spacious ‘enriched’ pens with straw bedding, while the other half were kept in more compact ‘barren’ pens with partially slatted concrete floors, which adhered to UK welfare requirements.

Tests were conducted to see how the pigs responded to social isolation and new objects, and to see whether their responses were consistent across two tests (defining their 'personality').

The study indicated that pigs with more proactive personality types produced grunts at a higher rate than the more reactive animals. It also found that male pigs (but not females) kept in the lower-quality conditions made fewer grunts compared with those housed in the enriched environment, suggesting greater susceptibility among male pigs to environmental factors.

In other news, China’s rising pork prices are still the centre of attention in the global pork market.

“China plays an increasingly important role in the global pork market,” says Chenjun Pan, Senior Animal Protein Analyst at Rabobank.

“China needs to increase imports to cover the supply gap in 2016. In total, we expect China to increase pork imports by 30 per cent. The EU, the US and Canada are well-positioned to increase exports to China given their availability of product and the adaption of production systems in response to China’s ractopamine-free policy.”

Beyond 2016, China will likely maintain its level of imports, even when local production recovers in 2017. The latest Rabobank report holds the view that local users of imported pork will continue to rely on imported pork due to its consistent quality and lower price, compared with local production.

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