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Hellsten, Ida, 2022. Pigs’ display of body language - associated with emotional states during differing treatments. Second cycle, A2E. Uppsala: SLU, Dept. of Animal Environment and Health



Animals’ behaviours are affected by their emotional state, and emotions can affect the animals’ welfare and health. Since emotions are subjective and could, at times, be illogical, the subject still has much to discover. Therefore, it is vital to understand animals and their feelings in order to improve their lives and welfare.
This study aimed to investigate whether the body language of pigs changes depending on what type of treatment they are exposed to, the treatments being Pleasant, neutral or Unpleasant. Further on, the aim was also to investigate if the different body positions can indicate what emotions the pig experiences.
The observations were conducted at the Swedish Livestock Research Centre, Lövsta, Uppsala, Sweden. A total of 90 pigs (14 weeks of age) were exposed to three treatments in a cross-over design. The Pleasant treatment provided the pigs with sugar cubes, the Unpleasant treatment presented an up folded umbrella, and in the Neutral treatment the pigs was observed in their pens without added stimulus. The treatments were filmed to be observed later with the help of an ethogram. The recording method used to obtain data for each displayed position during the different treatments was continuous recording and observing a focal animal, where each observation lasted 120 seconds. The focal animal was selected randomly and observed during all three treatments. For the body parts and positions in combination, all body parts positions were recorded as one combination every ten seconds. The first observation started from 0 seconds and continued up until 120 seconds. The position of the following body parts was observed; “Ears”, “Tail”, “Neck”, “Head” and “Body Overall”.
The results showed significant differences between the displayed body positions and combinations and in which treatments they occurred. From those results, it could be concluded that body language is complex and that it is not always reliable to observe only one body posture to determine emotional state. Continued investigations are necessary to establish further and understand the connection between pigs’ body language and emotional state. Through this, ensuring pigs’ welfare would be simplified. This study illustrated the need for further investigation of pigs body language and how it translates to their emotional states.

Main title:Pigs’ display of body language - associated with emotional states during differing treatments
Authors:Hellsten, Ida
Supervisor:Wallgren, Torun
Examiner:de Oliveira, Daiana
Volume/Sequential designation:UNSPECIFIED
Year of Publication:2022
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:None
Supervising department:(VH) > Dept. of Animal Environment and Health
Keywords:Pig, Sus scrofa domesticus, emotions, emotional state, body language, body positions
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Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Animal ecology
Deposited On:19 Oct 2022 07:20
Metadata Last Modified:20 Oct 2022 01:01

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