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Possible Cures for Tail-Biting Found

by 5m Editor
1 September 2009, at 8:11am

UK - The results of recently published research suggest that Stockholm tar and Dippel's oil may be effective in reducing tail biting.

Tail biting is a serious welfare problem in pigs raised for slaughter. In the instance of a tail biting outbreak, scientists have recommended that farmers take measures such as removal of affected animals, provision of enrichment materials and application of repellents to the pigs' tails. However, no scientific study has ever confirmed the efficacy of any of these suggestions in counteracting an ongoing outbreak.

In a recent study, published in the August edition of Animal Welfare journal, the efficacy of two repellent ointments, Dippel's oil and Stockholm tar, were examined in a tail-chew test.

For this, a novel piece of nylon rope was used as a tail model to measure biting behaviour. Analysis showed no effect of time, gender or unit but a highly significant effect of treatment, in that both Stockholm tar and Dippel's oil significantly reduced rope manipulation compared to controls.

These results suggest that Stockholm tar and Dippel's oil may be effective in reducing tail biting. The approach taken may be valuable in further testing of strategies to reduce tail biting and improving pig welfare.