Commission long awaited pig rearing guidelines finally pave the way for harmonized implementation of the Pigs Directive
The EU rears approximately 250 million pigs a year. This means that 3 250 million pigs were reared and killed since Directive 2008/120/EC came into force. The Directive lays down crystal clear provisions banning the routine tail-docking and teeth clipping and stating that pigs must have permanent access to a sufficient quantity of appropriate enrichment materials. Yet, a shocking number of at least 80% of pigs are still routinely tail docked and reared without enrichment materials.
The EC guidelines provide rearing tips on general conditions that can contribute to preventing tail-biting and as a consequence reduce the (arguments in favour) of routine tail docking. They underline the need to address inadequate environmental conditions and management systems while prescribing risk assessment routines to track the incidence of tail-biting based on animal and non-animal based indicators. Enrichment materials are now clearly defined as edible, chewable, investigable and manipulable. To comply with the Directive, they should be clean, hygienic and given in sufficient quantity. Farmers, farm veterinarians and public authorities are given the right parameters and tables to judge if materials are optimal and can therefore be used alone or should be blended with optimal materials.
“We are thrilled to see that the Recommendation is accompanied by a “staff working document” that provides operators with clear guidance on how to comply with the Directive” says Elena Nalon, Programme Leader Farm Animals at Eurogroup for Animals. Besides background information on tail biting, advice on how to prevent and contain tail biting outbreaks, definitions of optimal, suboptimal and marginally interesting enrichment materials, the document also provides information on how to assess the appropriateness of management measures taken to minimize tail-biting.
“This Recommendation and its accompanying working document constitute important steps towards a harmonized implementation of the Pigs Directive across the EU” says MEP Wojciechowski when questioned during the last MEP Intergroup meeting on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals in Strasbourg. “We welcome today’s announcement from the Commission affirming its intention to closely monitor the implementation of the Directive, and to promote the exchange of best practices among Member States”.
However, Eurogroup for Animals cautions the Commission to be diligent and vigilant for welfare of the 250 million pigs reared per year in the EU today. “It is time to finally launch infringement procedures against non-compliant Member States” stressed Reineke Hameleers, Eurogroup for Animals’ Director. “The EU pig sector no longer has an excuse for behaving as if it is above the law”.
For more information, contact:
Elena Nalon, Programme Leader – Farm animals firstname.lastname@example.org
We are thrilled to see that the Recommendation is accompanied by a “staff working document” that provides operators with clear guidance on how to comply with the Directive.Elena Nalon, Programme Leader Farm Animals at Eurogroup for Animals