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Scoring pleurisy in slaughtered pigs using convolutional neural networks

Abstract: Diseases of the respiratory system are known to negatively impact the profitability of the pig industry, worldwide. Considering the relatively short lifespan of pigs, lesions can be still evident at slaughter, where they can be usefully recorded and scored. Therefore, the slaughterhouse represents a key check-point to assess the health status of pigs, providing unique and valuable feedback to the farm, as well as an important source of data for epidemiological studies. Although relevant, scoring lesions in slaughtered pigs represents a very time-consuming and costly activity, thus making difficult their systematic recording. The present study has been carried out to train a convolutional neural network-based system to automatically score pleurisy in slaughtered pigs. The automation of such a process would be extremely helpful to enable a systematic examination of all slaughtered livestock. Overall, our data indicate that the proposed system is well able to differentiate half carcasses affected with pleurisy from healthy ones, with an overall accuracy of 85.5%. The system was better able to recognize severely affected half carcasses as compared with those showing less severe lesions. The training of convolutional neural networks to identify and score pneumonia, on the one hand, and the achievement of trials in large capacity slaughterhouses, on the other, represent the natural pursuance of the present study. As a result, convolutional neural network-based technologies could provide a fast and cheap tool to systematically record lesions in slaughtered pigs, thus supplying an enormous amount of useful data to all stakeholders in the pig industry.


Trachtman, A. R.; Bergamini, L.; Palazzi, A.; Porrello, A.; Capobianco Dondona, A.; Del Negro, E.; Paolini, A.; Vignola, G.; Calderara, S.; Marruchella, G. "Scoring pleurisy in slaughtered pigs using convolutional neural networks" VETERINARY RESEARCH, vol. 51, pp. 51 -61 , 2020 DOI: 10.1186/s13567-020-00775-z

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