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Towards a Norwegian pork production free of tail biting

Towards a Norwegian pork production free of tail biting (2018-2021)

The main objective of this project is to use current and new methodology to investigate an increasing problem in pork production in Norway; tail biting. The project will identify risk factors related to tail biting in Norwegian grower-finisher production and develop management protocols for the producers. The project will develop methods for including tail biting in our breeding program to avoid further development of the problem. This will be achieved through large-scale recording of farm environment and management in grower-finisher productions, identified based on tail biting recorded in abattoirs, to identify risk factors for tail biting. Further, large-scale recording of tail biting will be recorded on Delta, the boar testing station at Norsvin, and in commercial crossbred herds. In one herd, a feed trial will be conducted. This large-scale recording and feed trial will be used to monitor tail biting in Norsvin's breeds, establish a platform for individual routine recording of phenotypes for breeding purposes and create feed advice to prevent tail biting. Potential proxy traits for tail biting will be investigated for implementation in the breeding goal, such as health- and metabolic indicators. Hopefully, video recording of pens will be available for phenotyping of potential tail biting-related traits (through a different project). Statistical tools for implementation of tail biting will be developed. This includes use of phenotypes and genomic information from commercial crossbred animals in combination with genomic selection and genetic models including social interaction between animals within pen. This project will provide us with new statistical methods and both phenotypic and genomic information that will be used in selective breeding to produce a top quality genetic product on behalf of all Norwegian pig producers. The project will contribute with vital information and research on a prominent issue from a political, social and ethical point of view. 

Local researchers

Kristine Hov Martinsen, Norsvin (PI)

Andrew M. Janczak (collaborator)

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