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UK implements EU pig welfare directives

by 5m Editor
30 January 2003, at 12:00am

UK - Following the media interest in an EU directive on pig welfare, Animal Welfare Minister Elliott Morley said:

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"Like many euro-myths, to suggest farmers are being ordered to give pigs toys is not true. Although it sounds amusing, there is a serious point for animal welfare behind the new pig directive which requires pigs to have access to manipulable materials.

"This and other forms of environmental enrichment are examples of good management and are already included in industry-run quality assurance schemes which have been applied for many years."

The UK is currently implementing two EU pig welfare directives by amending the Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) Regulations 2000. The Regulations came before the Commons on 28 January and the Lords on 30 January. They will come into force on Friday 31 January. The Regulations tighten up the existing requirements for environmental enrichment by requiring all pigs to have permanent access to a sufficient quantity of manipulable materials to enable proper investigation and manipulation activities - an important behavioural need in pigs.

The Regulations list certain materials, such as straw and hay, which are particularly suitable. The list is not exhaustive and producers are not obliged to use only those listed. What is important is that pigs are given the opportunity to exhibit their normal behaviour.

The Regulations will be enforced by the State Veterinary Service, which can advise farmers on what materials to best fit their unit. Prosecutions would take place as a last resort - with maximum fines of up to 32,500 per charge.

Source: DEFRA - 30thJanuary 2003

5m Editor