The assessment of welfare within farrowing systems presents a unique challenge for pork producers, veterinarians, and animal scientists. Welfare assessment within all other phases of swine production involves pigs at a single stage of their productive life. Within the farrowing environment, the sow and her piglets are at two very different stages of their life, and have different requirements in regards to their thermal, social, and physical environments . A system that may be ideal for the welfare needs and requirements of the sow may be far from optimal for her piglets, and vice versa. In order for objective and science-based assessments to be conducted on swine farms, we must have an appreciation of the sows and her piglets welfare during farrowing and lactation.
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Johnson, Anna K. and Marchant-Forde, Jeremy N., "Hypothetical Welfare Assessments for the Sow and Her Litter" (2011). Animal Science White Papers, Technical Reports, & Fact Sheets. 16.