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ISSN : 1225-2964(Print)
ISSN : 2287-3317(Online)
Annals of Animal Resource Sciences Vol.33 No.2 pp.58-65
DOI : https://doi.org/10.12718/AARS.2022.33.2.194

Effect of Pig-tail-docking on the Development of Tail-biting and Terminal Neuroma Investigated in Slaughterhouses

YunChan Lee1#, Yeonsu Oh2#, Jeong-Hee Han2*
1Doctor, 2Professor, College of Veterinary Medicine and Institute of Veterinary Science, Kangwon National University, Chuncheon 24341, Korea

Abstract

Newborn piglets are routinely subjected to several treatments shortly after birth, one of which is tail-docking. Tail-docking, which is carried out without an anesthetic when the piglet is 3 to 4 days old, is intended to prevent the severe injuries that can occur when pigs bite each other’s tails. The study was performed in slaughterhouses to determine how much tail-docking prevented tail-biting and how much it caused clinical problems such as amputation neuroma. One thousand pigtails were collected from 3 slaughterhouses in different provinces and tail length and tail-biting injuries were examined. Among them, 659 tail tissues were examined for clinical problems like amputation neuroma. The collected tails were divided into 3 groups according to the length of the tail, which was defined as long (n=136, 75% of the tail remained compared to the referred intact tail length of 30.6±0.6 cm of crossbred Landrace×Yorkshire dam×Duroc sire; LYD), medium (n=694, 50% of the tail remained), and short (n=170, 25% of the tail remained). The results showed that 4.3% of 1000 tails had biting injuries and 58.7% of 659 tails had amputation neuromas. There was no significant association between the tail-biting injury and tail lengths (p=0.953). However, the tail-biting injuries differed significantly by the province (p<0.001), and the frequency of amputation neuromas also appeared more frequently in longer tail lengths (p<0.001). The results indicated that tail-biting behavior was not influenced by tail-docking but might be influenced by the housing system and/or management practices.

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