Pigs as model species to investigate effects of early life events on later behavioral and neurological functions

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

    Abstract

    Pigs are increasingly used as animal models of early life events, both as models for humans and as models for pigs in farming. The relative similarities of young pigs to young humans in terms of brain development, physiology, diet, and gastrointestinal function make pigs a potentially powerful animal model for human neonates. In farm-kept animals, effects of management practices in early life that may affect the welfare state of the animal throughout its life are underinvestigated. Tools for testing young pigs for cognitive development include operant tests, such as the holeboard, judgement bias, discrimination, and gambling tasks. Neurological testing may prove to be extremely valuable for evaluating development in pigs. All of these tests are in varying stages of validation; concerted efforts by those involved in pig research should be undertaken to validate and use validated tests in pigs. The specific welfare issues surrounding the use of pigs as model animals are discussed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationAnimal Models for the Study of Human Disease
    EditorsP. Michael Conn
    PublisherAcademic Press Inc.
    Chapter39
    Pages1003-1030
    Number of pages28
    Edition2
    ISBN (Electronic)9780128096994
    ISBN (Print)9780128094686
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 28 Jun 2017

    Keywords

    • translational research
    • experimental unit
    • repeated testing
    • reuse of animals
    • multiple readout parameters
    • confounds (intervening variables)
    • modeling human diseases
    • welfare of pigs

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