November 1, 2018 - When it comes to animal welfare, the size of the farm does not matter, according to staff at the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture in the United Kingdom.
The institute studied 60 hog farms, found that all but a few pigs were fed adequately, but that some needed better water drinkers and flooring needs attention to address high rates of bursitis and manure-coated animals.
The Universities Federation for Animal Welfare’s (UFAW) report suggests that while some consumers may believe animal welfare is compromised on large farms, their research indicates the situation is far from clear cut.
Dr. Christian Lambertz said “simple adjustments in the management of space allowances and of water supply can also improve welfare.”
Although the study assessed tail-biting, lameness, hernia, severe wounds, skin condition, coughing and sneezing these were only seen at very low rates without any difference among the farm sizes.
The space allowances in more than 40 per cent of the pens were below the German Farm Animal Welfare Regulations and over-crowded pens were found on 92 per cent of the farms - although the proportion of over-crowed pens was lowest on large farms.
UFAW is an independent and educational animal welfare charity.