2011 animal welfare in intensive pig farming

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This project is funded by the Federal Office for Agriculture and Food (Bundesanstalt für Landwirtschaft und Ernährung, BLE) under the framework of promotion of innovations (project period 08/2010-07/2013). It is a joint project, in which in addition to the Department of Agricultural Engineering of the University of Kassel and the Internorm Kunstoff GmbH, the company WEDA is involved. The aim of the project is to improve animal welfare in intensive pig farming. In order to understand the behavior of the domestic pig take a look at his next of kind, the wild boar. The wild boar spends about 75% of its active time with searching for food. During this time the animals roam their territory in search of more palatable energy-rich food. As the boar has a very wide range of food of both plant and animal components the measures which have to be taken by the animal to eat this food are correspondingly diverse. The wild boar is guided by his very good sense of smell , ransackes the upper layer of soil, digging with the front legs, goes a few steps further, again is burrowing and is often long busy to bring the food in a " ready- state". The domestic pig, however, has no opportunity for such practices in intensive production systems on fully slatted floors cause appropriate stimuli and materials are completely absent. This mixture of lack of satisfaction of physical needs and emerging boredom leads in many stocks in combination with other factors such as unfavorable stable climate, spatial confinement, etc. in undesirable behavior such as tail and ear biting. In this project a technical rooting material is developed and tested, which is intended to allow the pigs to be able to live out the most important component of their normal behavior (rooting) and so to reduce the incidence of unwanted behaviors. For this purpose, a spring-loaded body of polyurethane, of the so-called "Wühlkegel" (rooting cone) has been developed.

press release :

"Wühlkegel bereichern den Schweinespielzeugmarkt", 20.11.2012 agrarheute.com

"finisher pigs having a ball", pig progress, Nov. 8, 2013


responsible : Dr. Uwe Richter & doctoral candidate Nicola Jathe

"we care about pigs" video

"Finisher pigs having a ball" Interwiev mit Dr. Uwe Richter aus PigProgress.net Mai 2013 video

Die BLE als Projektträger - der Wühlkegel 2015 video