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Amersfoort, Netherlands

Ilari-Antoine E.,French Pork and Pig Institute IFIP | Bonneau M.,French National Institute for Agricultural Research | Bonneau M.,Agrocampus Ouest | Klauke T.N.,University of Bonn | And 10 more authors.
Animal | Year: 2014

The aim of this paper is to present an efficient tool for evaluating the economy part of the sustainability of pig farming systems. The selected tool IDEA was tested on a sample of farms from 15 contrasted systems in Europe. A statistical analysis was carried out to check the capacity of the indicators to illustrate the variability of the population and to analyze which of these indicators contributed the most towards it. The scores obtained for the farms were consistent with the reality of pig production; the variable distribution showed an important variability of the sample. The principal component analysis and cluster analysis separated the sample into five subgroups, in which the six main indicators significantly differed, which underlines the robustness of the tool. The IDEA method was proven to be easily comprehensible, requiring few initial variables and with an efficient benchmarking system; all six indicators contributed to fully describe a varied and contrasted population. © 2014 The Animal Consortium.

Bonneau M.,French National Institute for Agricultural Research | De Greef K.,Livestock Research | Brinkman D.,University of Bonn | Cinar M.U.,University of Bonn | And 13 more authors.
Animal | Year: 2014

Although a few studies consider the sustainability of animal farming systems along the three classical main pillars (economy, environment and society), most studies on pig farming systems address only one of these pillars. The present paper is the introduction to a series of companion papers presenting the results of a study undertaken within the EU-supported project Q-PorkChains, aiming at building a comprehensive tool for the evaluation of pig farming systems, which is robust to accommodate the large variability of systems existing in Europe. The tool is mostly based on questions to farmers and comprises a total of 37 dimensions distributed along eight themes: Animal Welfare, Animal Health, Breeding Programmes, Environmental Sustainability, Meat Safety, Market Conformity, Economy and Working Conditions. The paper describes the procedure that was used for building the tool, using it on 15 contrasted pig farming systems and analysing the results. The evaluated systems are briefly described and a short overview of the dimensions is provided. Detailed descriptions of the theme-wise tools and results, as well as the results of an integrated evaluation, are available in the companion papers. © 2014 The Animal Consortium.

Alfonso-Carrillo C.,Poultry and Rabbit Research Center | Garcia-Rebollar P.,Technical University of Madrid | De Blas C.,Technical University of Madrid | Ibanez M.A.,Technical University of Madrid | Garcia-Ruiz A.I.,Swine Research Center
Livestock Science | Year: 2014

The effects of the combined use of long lactation periods (46 days) with alternative cages on the reproductive and growth performance of 104 rabbit does and their litters during five consecutive reproductive cycles were studied. Half of does were housed in conventional polyvalent cages (39. cm×100. cm×30. cm) and the other half in alternative polyvalent cages (39. cm×100. cm×60. cm), with a raised platform. Half of the rabbit does in each type of cage were weaned at 32 and the other half at 46 days after parturition. Longer lactation negatively affected the body weight (P<0.001), fat and energy content (P<0.05) of rabbit does at the end of the lactation period, but this effect decreased with the number of parturitions. Fertility, prolificacy and doe mortality were not affected by lactation length. Late weaning led to higher litter size (by 8.9%) and litter weight (by 11.3%) at the end of growing period (P<0.001) and lower feed conversion ratio per cage during the experimental period (13.5%) than weaning at 32 day (P<0.001). These results were paralleled by lower mortality (12.6 vs. 17.6%; P<0.01) of young rabbits weaned later during the overall experimental period. Differences in performance as a result of different weaning ages were only observed during cycles with worst health status (third and fifth cycles) in which late weaning decreased mortality. Type of cage did not affect doe body weight and body condition, mortality, fertility, prolificacy and litter size during the five reproductive cycles. Nevertheless, at day 21 litter weight and feed conversion ratio between 3 and 21 day were 4.2% higher (P<0.01) and 5.0% lower (P<0.05), respectively, in animals housed in alternative rather than in conventional cages. Alternative cages also led to heavier litters at 59 days (P<0.01). It was concluded that the combined use of longer lactations and cages with higher available surface with a raised platform could be alternatives to improve animal welfare in farmed rabbit. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.

Bonneau M.,French National Institute for Agricultural Research | Klauke T.N.,University of Bonn | Gonzalez J.,IRTA - Institute of Agricultural-Alimentary Research and Technology | Rydhmer L.,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences | And 10 more authors.
Animal | Year: 2014

The aim of this paper is to present an approach for an integrated evaluation of the sustainability of pig farming systems, taking into account the three classical pillars: economy, environment and society. Eight sustainability themes were considered: Animal Welfare (AW), Animal Health (AH), Breeding Programmes (BP), Environment (EN), Meat Safety (MS), Market Conformity (MC), Economy (EC) and Working Conditions (WC). A total of 37 primary indicators were identified and used for the evaluation of 15 much contrasted pig farming systems in five EU countries. The results show that the eight themes were not redundant and all contributed to the observed variation between systems. The tool was very robust for highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of the systems along the eight themes that were considered. The number of primary indicators could be reduced from 37 to 18 with limited impact on the strengths/weaknesses profile of the individual systems. Integrating the eight theme evaluations into a single sustainability score is based on hypotheses or presumptions on the relative weights that should be given to the eight themes, which are very dependent on the context and on the purpose of the users of the tool. Therefore, the present paper does not have the ambition to provide a ready-for-use tool, rather to suggest an approach for the integrated evaluation of the sustainability of pig farming systems. © 2014 The Animal Consortium.

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