Document Detail

Repeated handling of pigs during rearing. I. Refusal of contact by the handler and reactivity to familiar and unfamiliar humans.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  15956474     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Pigs housed in groups received different handling treatments for 40 d until slaughter age. Pigs of the human interaction (HI) and refusal of contact (RC) groups were individually introduced into a pen each day, where they remained for 3 min in the presence of a squatted handler. The handler tried to increase progressively physical reciprocal interactions with the HI pigs using eye and body contact and voice. The handler remained immobile and avoided eye contact and use of voice with RC pigs. These pigs were pushed away when they touched the handler. Control pigs remained in their home pens. Over sessions, HI pigs progressively increased physical interactions with the handler, up to 35% of their time. The RC pigs were motivated to interact with the handler as they tried to establish physical contact with the handler throughout the experiment. They increased levels of locomotion, rubbing, immobility, and snout contact with the wall, suggesting that they were frustrated by the refusal of contact. At the end of the experimental period, all pigs were subjected to three human exposure tests, where pigs were exposed to the handler and two other persons, one of which was unfamiliar, in a Latin square design. During this test, behavior of the humans was the same as for the RC treatment. The HI pigs discriminated between the handler and the other persons as indicated by their increased approach behavior towards the handler. Part of the prior handling experience was generalized to other humans as indicated by higher levels of proximity of HI and RC pigs with the different persons compared with controls. Physical contact with the human was associated with increased heart rates. Two possibilities are that these two characteristics are part of a general behavioral/physiological reactive profile, or that contact with humans provokes an arousal or emotional response. Despite this, behavioral data show that pigs are motivated to be in physical contact with a handler, even when the handler consistently refuses contact.
E M C Terlouw; J Porcher
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Comparative Study; Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Journal of animal science     Volume:  83     ISSN:  1525-3163     ISO Abbreviation:  J. Anim. Sci.     Publication Date:  2005 Jul 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2005-06-15     Completed Date:  2007-09-13     Revised Date:  2007-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8003002     Medline TA:  J Anim Sci     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  1653-63     Citation Subset:  IM    
Meat Research Unit, INRA de Theix, France.
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MeSH Terms
Animal Husbandry*
Behavior, Animal / classification,  physiology*
Handling (Psychology)*
Heart Rate / physiology
Meat / standards
Social Behavior*
Statistics as Topic
Swine / physiology*,  psychology
Time Factors

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