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Pig sub-group advices on coordinated action to reduce tail docking of pigs

Published on
April 26, 2019

The pig sub-group of the EU platform on Animal Welfare had its second meeting at the end of March, at the SANTE F building in Grange, Ireland.

Wageningen Livestock Research_outdoor pigs

Pig sub-group

In September 2018, the thematic sub-group on welfare of pigs was established within the EU Platform on Animal Welfare. The tasks and operations of the Platform on Animal Welfare have been set out in Commission Decision of 24 January 2017. The overall objective of the pig sub-group is to assist the Platform and initially will consider how the risk of tail biting can be reduced through meeting the relevant legal requirements included in Directives 98/58/EC, 2008/120/EC and taking into account Commission Recommendation (EU) 2016/336. The pig sub-group shall take into account, coordinate and complement any ongoing activities in this area such as: the activities on pig welfare of the first EU Reference Centre for animal welfare and the three-year Project on reducing systematic tail-docking of piglets in the EU countries.

March 2019 meeting

The pig sub-group will review the use of indicators and assessment criteria in quality assurance, agri-food schemes and in research, for issues related to tail-biting. The subgroup advises the Commission on current practice and how such indicators and criteria could be further developed. Following the first meeting on 30 November 2018, this meeting focussed on four papers being developed by members of the group: one on measuring tails and tail lesions; and three on how authorities could instruct official vets to assess compliance criteria for tail biting risks related to health, competition and aggression, and diet.

The papers will be finalized as soon as possible and sent to the Commission to consider making them available to EURCAW-Pigs to assist in their development of "iceberg" indicators. This will assist official veterinarians in assessing risk parameters on farm related to legislative requirements on competition and aggression. The finalised documents will also be distributed to Member States Competent Authorities as soon as possible to assist them in the development of compliance criteria relating to risk factors on health. The final minutes of the meeting will be made available here.

Next Meeting

The third meeting of the pig sub-group is scheduled for Wednesday, 10th July and Thursday (half day), 11th July 2019 and the duration has been extended to one and a half days by agreement of the group.

(Photo: Outdoor-pigs_Wageningen Livestock Research)