The legal requirements related to tail docking can be found in two Council Directives, and in two supporting documents from the Commission.
- Council Directive 98/58/EC concerning the protection of animals kept for farming purposes lays down the basic principle that pigs should be offered an adequate level of welfare.
- Council Directive 2008/120/EC elaborates on this and sets out specific rules on the protection of pigs.
- Commission Recommendation (EU) 2016/336 describes measures to reduce the need for tail-docking.
- In accordance with the recommendation, best practices to reduce tail biting are suggested in a Staff Working Document, which is not legally binding.
According to the Commission Recommendation, the following six key factors should be checked when carrying out a risk assessment of the incidence of tail-biting based on animal and non-animal based indicators:
- Enrichment materials
- Health status
- Competition over resources
- Pen structure/cleanliness
Relevant legal requirements are presented here in conjunction with the abovementioned six key or risk factors.