Animal Welfare Research Needs for Pigs

Following is a list of research priorities gaps identified during the pig Code development process. Click here to visit the pig Code web page for the Scientific Committee report and to view the full Code.

List compiled: January 2014

Gestating sows in groups

  • Refine management of sows in groups with an emphasis on the transitions into groups and from groups into farrowing
  • Assessing different methods of group housing with respect to social management, productivity, etc.
  • Area (space allowance) required for sows in group housing to manage aggression, influence on manuring patterns, etc.
  • Grouping sows after breeding (i.e., no stalls for 28-­35 days)
  • Practical options for converting stall barns to group housing

Pain relief and sickness management

  • Refinement and alternatives to painful procedures (e.g., castration, tail­-docking)
  • Care of sick and compromised animals
  • Practical delivery methods for on-­farm use of pain medication (e.g., compound with iron)
  • Evaluation of pain relief for farrowing, nursing and regrouped sows
  • Genetic influences, prevention and detection of lameness


  • Refinement of on-­farm methods
  • Determining humane endpoints for euthanasia
  • Evaluation of existing on-farm methods for mature pigs


  • Truck design to achieve climate control
  • Handling on and off the truck
  • Practical alternatives to the use of ramps for loading/unloading pigs in Canada

Practical methods for assessing on­-farm welfare

Implications of high welfare systems on stockpersons

  • How to improve stockmanship
  • Implications of high welfare systems on stockpersons


  • Practical applications
  • Enrichment options for sows
  • The use of enrichment to manage behavioural vices

Floor space allowances for weaned/nursery pigs

Exercise frequency, strategies, etc. for sows and boars housed in stalls*

Evaluating the efficacy of knowledge transfer for on­-farm application

* Required by the time that the Code of Practice is reviewed; exercise statements in Code of Practice states that “suitable options will be clarified by the participating stakeholders by July 1, 2019, as informed by scientific evidence”. Section 1.1.2 (Housing Systems: Gestating Gilts and Sows) and Section 1.1.6 (Housing Systems: Boars).