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Face Recognition for Pigs Could Improve Welfare on Farms

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The team’s facial recognition system is more accurate than RF tagging and works with very low-resolution images of 64-by-64 pixels taken automatically without interfering with the pigs at all.

Credit: Ulrich Mueller/Dreamstime

Wenhao Zhang and colleagues at the U.K.'s University of the West of England have developed a facial recognition system for pigs.

The researchers captured thousands of photos of sows from three breeds, then fed the images into a convolutional neural network that detected nuanced distinctions in the animals' faces.

The software ran tens of millions of tests in learning to identify individual pigs, resulting in a system that, Zhang said, could accurately identify specific animals nearly 97% of the time.

Natalie Waran at New Zealand's Eastern Institute of Technology said facial recognition makes physically marking the animals unnecessary, while also offering the opportunity to "cater to an individual's specific [nutritional or veterinary] needs where animals are kept in large groups in intensive farming conditions."

From New Scientist
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