There is evidence that several animal welfare aspects have a genetic basis (e.g. Hemsworth et al., 1990), indicating that purposive selection for a better animal welfare could be successful. However, pig breeding programmes seem to pay little attention to improving welfare. Indeed, selection for longevity, leg quality, exterior, heritable defects, disease resistance, etc. could improve pig welfare (Wilkie and Mallard, 1999; Yazdi et al., 2000), but their main aim is often economic benefit. Probably the best example in pigs of breeding for an economic trait (meat quality) that clearly resulted in a better welfare is, selection against stress susceptibility by means of the halothane test (e.g. Schaeffer et al., 1989 ; Geers et al., 1994).
Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume 2002. Session 14, , 14.08, 2002
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