The welfare of pigs in rustic and technified production systems using the Welfare Quality protocols of pigs in Mexico: Validity of indicators of animal welfare as part of the sustainability criteria of pig production systems

Natyieli Losada-Espinosa, María Elena Trujillo Ortega, Francisco Galindo


Veterinaria México OA
ISSN: 2448-6760

Cite this as:

  • Losada-Espinosa N,Trujillo Ortega ME, Galindo F. The welfare of pigs in rustic and technified production systems using the Welfare Quality protocols of pigs in Mexico: Validity of indicators of animal welfare as part of the sustainability criteria of pig production systems. Veterinaria México OA. 2017;4(4). doi: 10.21753/vmoa.4.4.521.

The Welfare Quality® (WQ) protocols have been developed as a tool for the assessment of farm animal welfare based on scientific evidence. Animal welfare (AW) is part of the sustainability criteria of livestock production. A study was carried out in four states of Central Mexico in seven rustic (rPS) and six technified (tPS) production systems using the WQ protocol with the objective of providing an initial approximation of the welfare of animals and to discuss the validity of indicators of AW. The results showed that the animals housed in rustic units presented better results in the Good Health category and with respect to the criterion expression of social behaviour, while the frequency of criteria concerning Positive emotional states was higher in animals in the technified units. In the changing context in which the farms operate, including changing agricultural policies, new environmental and food safety regulations, variability of climatic conditions, and volatility in prices of inputs and outputs, it is not only the attributes referring to productivity and efficiency that become relevant. It is concluded that the criteria related to the WQ principles of health and behaviour are sensitive to changes in the housing and management of pigs. The high occurrences of health and behaviour problems recorded in technified systems are an indicator of poor welfare.

Figure 4. Classification of rustic (RS) and technified (TS) production units within the welfare categories proposed by the Welfare Quality protocol.


animal welfare; pig behaviour and health; pig production; sustainability; Welfare Quality.

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