Each year millions of pounds are lost within the pig industry due to the aggressive and sometimes fatal behaviours of the adult pigs, resulting in the loss of newly born piglets.

In order to assist in carrying out her research, Sarah Jowett contacted Communicate UK after researching expert CCTV Hire providers in the South East of England. The overall aim of this study is to advance the understanding of the impact of underlying social networks within a dynamic gestation group. Sarah aimed to explore and analyse patterns of positive and negative interactions at an individual level.

The aim of previous research conducted - to improve performance and welfare of sows within dynamic group systems - has led to significant investigations into the intervention measures required to develop effective management strategies. These strategies aim to reduce the levels of aggressive behaviour occurring when the social network becomes unstable. Social instability holds responsibility of frequent mixing of unfamiliar animals and large group sizes; practises often found in intensive pig farming. Previous studies have predominantly focused on space allocation, enrichment, feeding systems and group compositions. Despite this, piglet mortality continues to constitute the greatest area of economic loss for the industry.

CCTV is an invaluable tool for capturing specific behavioural information occurring within the dry barn. Such footage will enable evaluation of the research question; Do pigs have friends? This will explore the impact of these interactions on individual welfare status’ and production performances.

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