Type: Book

Understanding the behaviour and improving the welfare of pigs


Dr Sandra Edwards is Emerita Professor in the School of Natural and Environmental Sciences at the University of Newcastle, UK. Professor Edwards is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading experts on pig welfare with over 200 publications in the field. She has won numerous awards, including from organisations such as UFAW, EAAP, RSPCA and BSAS. She is a former President of the British Society of Animal Science, a Fellow of the Royal Agricultural Society of England, as well as a former member of the UK Farm Animal Welfare Council and the Animal Health and Welfare Panel of the European Food Safety Agency.



Publication date:

29 December 2020

Length of book:

320 pages

ISBN-13: 9781786764430

Hardback - £150.00
Request Permissions


The welfare of farmed animals such as pigs is an increasing concern for consumers and regulatory agencies. This collection summarises and reviews the wealth of recent research on understanding pig behaviour and improving their welfare.

After an initial review of genetic and developmental factors affecting pig behaviour, the book assesses ways of optimising pig welfare at differing production stages. Chapters cover breeding and gestation, farrowing and lactation, weaning, growing and finishing as well as transport, lairage and slaughter. The book then reviews our understanding of current welfare issues such as tail biting docking, castration and the impact of enrichment. The final part of the book assesses behavioural and emotional responses of pigs, welfare indicators and advances in technologies for monitoring pig behaviour and welfare.

Key features

  • Emphasises advances in understanding pig behaviour as the foundation for understanding and improving welfare 
  • Comprehensive coverable of welfare issues across the value chain, covering breeding and gestation, farrowing and lactation, weaning, growing and finishing as well as transport, lairage and slaughter 
  • Particular focus on ways of assessing and reducing pain in such areas as tail docking and castration

What others are saying...

"Animal welfare is an essential aspect of modern livestock production and a sound knowledge of animal behaviour is fundamentally important to understand animal welfare. The proposed content of this book is excellent and covers all major themes in the field of pig behaviour and welfare. The list of authors includes most of the best scientists in the area. Therefore, I am fully convinced that this book will become a must for anyone interested not only in pig welfare, but also in pig production in general."
Dr Xavier Manteca, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Spain

Table of contents

Part 1 Determinants of behaviour
1.Advances in understanding the genetics of pig behaviour: Lotta Rydhmer, SLU, Sweden;
2.Developmental effects on development of pig behaviour: Yolande Seddon, University of Saskatchewan, Canada;

Part 2 Management of behaviour in different production stages
3.Optimising pig welfare in breeding and gestation: Paul Hemsworth, University of Melbourne, Australia;
4.Optimising welfare in farrowing and lactation: Emma Baxter, SRUC, UK;
5.Optimising pig welfare at the weaning and nursery stage: Nicole Kemper, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Germany;
6.Optimising pig welfare in the growing and finishing stage: John McGlone, Texas Tech University, USA;
7.Optimising pig welfare during transport, lairage and slaughter: Luigi Faucitano, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Canada;

Part 3 Current welfare issues
8.Pain assessment and piglet management procedures: Armelle Prunier, INRA, France;
9.Alternatives to castration of pigs: Emma Fabrega, IRTA, Spain;
10.Understanding and preventing tail biting in pigs: Sandra Edwards, University of Newcastle, UK;
11.The role of enrichment in optimising pig welfare: Sandra Düpjan, Leibniz Institute – Dummerstorf, Germany;

Part 4 Assessment of welfare states
12.Behavioural responses to health challenges and their alleviation: Monique Pairis-Garcia, Ohio State University, USA;
13.Assessing emotions in pigs: Eimear Murphy, University of Münster, Germany;
14.Assessing welfare under farm conditions: Bjorn Forkman, University of Copenhagen, Denmark;
15.Advances in technologies for monitoring pig welfare: Maciej Oczak, Veterinary University Vienna, Austria;