Joint commitment for more animal welfare in pig farming

International animal welfare conference in Copenhagen on 29/30 April 2015

Danish Agriculture Minister Dan Jørgensen, Dutch Agriculture Minister Sharon Dijksma and German Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt discussed improved animal welfare in pig farming at the International Conference on Pig Welfare in Denmark.

The conference brought together international experts and specialists, as well as representatives from various animal welfare organisations.

Joint statement at European level

On the occasion of this conference, Denmark, the Netherlands and Germany presented a joint statement on pig welfare in Europe, urging the EU Commission to adapt the legislation on pig welfare. The focus is on reducing the number of tail-docked pigs and on phasing out piglet castration without anaesthesia and the close confinement of sows after weaning.

On 14 December 2014, Denmark, the Netherlands and Germany signed a joint declaration on improving animal welfare. It aims to achieve improved cooperation, a more transparent knowledge transfer and simplification of the regulatory environment.

What are the demands of the (joint) statement?

Less docking of pig tails

It should be possible to make piglet rearing and fattening holdings more responsible for establishing the necessary conditions for keeping animals with undocked tails. This would include, for instance, additional requirements regarding the provision of suitable manipulable material, livestock density and floor components.

Phasing-out of piglet castration without anaesthesia

Following the example of the voluntary agreement of the industry (Brussels Declaration), the aim is to stop the castration of piglets without anaesthesia and analgesia in the EU as from 2018.

Group housing of sows after weaning

The keeping of sows in close confinement in the service area is to be prohibited in the long term.

Reduction or prohibition of the close confinement of sows with piglets

There is still a lack of sufficient knowledge on what requirements are needed to optimise the keeping of sows with their piglets in free-range farrowing pens. It would be welcomed if the European Commission were to support relevant studies in this field.

Revision of Council Directive 2008/120/EG laying down minimum standards for the protection of pigs (Codified version)

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