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Application of Social Network Analysis to Animal Welfare Requirements

By:  Yuzhi Li, Associate Professor, Alternative Swine Production

Animal agriculture has been shaped by the general public's concerns about animal welfare. The emergence of abnormal behaviors in farm animals, such as tail biting in pigs and feather pecking in chickens, not only can cause injuries, but can also compromise the health and performance of victimized animals. In the past, research has typically focused on removing physical stressors in order to improve welfare. However, thanks to recent funding granted from the Rapid Ag Response Fund, the WCROC will be studying tail biting from a social structure standpoint; we believe we are the first institution to do so.
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