© Photo credits: Igualdad Animal
The last audit on measures to prevent tail docking carried out by the European Commission (DG Health and Food Audits and Analysis) in Denmark leaves little room for optimism, as 98.5% of pigs are still routinely tail docked. The audit consisted of meetings with the competent authorities and non-governmental organisations, and researchers, one visit to a slaughterhouse, and inspections in two commercial farms holding in total 8,900 pigs. Although some steps have been taken in recent times by the Danish government to stimulate the rearing of pigs with intact tails, this has clearly been insufficient to shift the bulk of the industry. Guidelines for improving compliance have finally been prepared according to European legislation, but they still haven’t been taken up by industry bodies. According to farmers’ representatives, rearing pigs with intact tails entails an investment of 6.7 euros per pig, which is considered discouraging. If on the internal market things are moving quite slowly, for exports the situation is much worse. Denmark exports 14 million weaner pigs a year (out of the total 32 million reared) for further fattening in other EU countries, and the importing farmers still require pigs with docked tails. Yet this is a perverse mechanism, as across Europe all member states should be already equipped with the know-how to make tail docking redundant. And indeed the Commission report stresses that it is necessary for all countries, including importing ones, to work together and solve the problem. In the meantime, progress is still not in sight for the short-medium term in Denmark.
Click here to read the report.
Elena Nalon, Programme Leader Farm Animals