Croney, C. 2014. Let's stay together: Implications of social housing for laboratory pig welfare and management. Enrichment Record 19, 14-19.
Appropriately accommodating the pig's normal social behavior is an essential step in protecting its well-being in managed environments. Doing so is particularly important in laboratory settings in which distress due to social isolation and other factors can introduce unnecessary variability and induce physiological and behavioral coping mechanisms that can undermine the validity of research results. Further, addressing the social needs of pigs is a critical component of meeting our ethical obligation to provide the best possible quality of life for research animals. When single housing is necessary, the quantity and quality of caretaker interactions with pigs become even more important to their overall well-being. As a result, greater consideration is needed of the role human caretakers may play in providing social support for pigs kept in laboratory settings. Inanimate forms of social support, such as televisions, audio and video-recordings and mirrors may also offer some benefits when social housing of pigs is not possible.