Animal welfare has become one of the highest priorities in improving existing, and also when developing new, animal husbandry systems. However, the assessment of animal welfare for these systems is often subjective. They are mainly based on accessibility of facilities, overall health and specific behaviour of the animals in the system.
Using Heart Rate Variability (HRV) analysis it may be able to quantify animal welfare. Also individual animal monitoring can be automated. Above all else the HRV data may tell us something about the resilience of individual animals, in this study: pigs. A new HRV analysis tool was developed by Geert André. This model may capture specific heart rate dynamics and may therefore provide its user with new HRV information. Whether this is the case was the main focus of my study.
After data analysis of several datasets it was unclear whether the information provided by the André model was useful. It was clear, however, that the output of the André model did not correlate very strongly to the output of an existing and widely accepted HRV analysis tool: Kubios HRV. This can mean two things: the André model provides novel information on HRV characteristics or it provides no information what so ever. Which of the two situations was the case could unfortunately not be concluded in this study. A strong influence of the stress input of this study on one of the André model parameters, in linear regression, does provide an interesting starting point for further research.