Technology can improve animal welfare

Rikke  Bonnichsen

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Technology can improve animal welfare

Stunning in groups

Pigs are prey animals. Therefore, it reduces stress for the pigs when they are not isolated from the other animals in the group. Handling pigs in groups in the raceway to stunning will also be easier, because pigs naturally follow each other, which results in a gentler pre-stunning handling. Small pens, automatic push-hoist gates, and stunning in groups have all been developed based on several years’ expertise in animal handling.

No more tattoos

Normally in Denmark, pigs are tattooed by the farmer so that they can be identified at the slaughterhouse. With the correct logistical setup, it is possible to transport a full truckload of pigs and maintain the identity of the pigs throughout the entire chain. This has reduced the workload for the farmer and has increased the level of animal welfare by removing any distress and pain suffered by the pigs.


It is crucial that every pig is stuck before scalding. A vison-based system – VisStick – monitors the pigs after sticking and gives an alarm if no blood dripping from the pig's snout is registered. This system is currently installed on most slaughter lines in Denmark and at several production facilities in other Nordic countries.

Precision Livestock Farming

Precision Livestock Farming (PLF) is the use of technology to automatically monitor production animals to assist the producer in management decisions. There is an increasing interest worldwide in applying PLF in livestock production for the simple reason that PLF has an enormous potential for optimizing production, as it will assist and support the producer in making the right management decisions and thereby improve productivity and welfare and reduce climate impact.