Pig tail-dock­ing ban floated by EU Com­mis­sion

Irish Independent - Farming - - NEWS - DE­CLAN O’BRIEN

THE rou­tine tail-dock­ing of pigs by farm­ers must be stopped, the EU Com­mis­sion has in­sisted.

In a re­cent let­ter to pig pro­duc­ers, the De­part­ment of Agri­cul­ture warned that it would be in­spect­ing units to mon­i­tor com­pli­ance with the new reg­u­la­tions.

The Com­mis­sion’s ac­tions fol­low on from a re­cent gath­er­ing of pig farm­ers and ex­perts at Grange which dealt with the “suc­cess­ful rear­ing of pigs with in­tact tails”.

“At the meet­ing the EU Com­mis­sion sent out a clear mes­sage that all rou­tine tail-dock­ing of pigs must be stopped,” the De­part­ment let­ter stated.

“Ac­tion must be taken im­me­di­ately by pig pro­duc­ers to meet the re­quire­ments as set out in EU and Na­tional leg­is­la­tion.

“The Com­mis­sion has in­di­cated that it will be mon­i­tor­ing farm­ers’ com­pli­ance over the com­ing year…

“DAFM in­spec­tors will carry out a se­ries of wel­fare checks on pig farms to ver­ify ef­forts are be­ing made to com­ply with the leg­is­la­tion.”

In­spec­tors will also take note of farm­ers’ com­pli­ance with stock­ing den­sity reg­u­la­tions and the pro­vi­sion of en­rich­ment ma­te­rial.

Un­der the new reg­u­la­tions it is also a re­quire­ment that pig farms carry out a risk as­sess­ment on tail bit­ing on their farms for 2019.

Re­act­ing

Re­act­ing to the let­ters, the IFA said it would con­tinue to en­gage with both the De­part­ment and Tea­gasc on the is­sue of tail dock­ing.

“Ir­ish pig farm­ers aim for the high­est wel­fare stan­dards for their pigs. The ask of the DAFM to com­ply with EU coun­cil di­rec­tive 2008/120/EC is a com­pli­cated task and mul­ti­fac­to­rial,” an IFA spokesper­son told the Farm­ing In­de­pen­dent.

“Pig farm­ers will con­tinue to co-op­er­ate fully with the DAFM on this is­sue, and the ex­per­tise pro­vided by Tea­gasc, in terms of ad­vice and on­go­ing re­search, will greatly as­sist them.

“Risk as­sess­ments car­ried out to date on many pig farms have shown that the is­sue of tail-dock­ing is com­pli­cated and needs to be care­fully con­sid­ered, us­ing the best ad­vice from the farm PVP [vet].”

“The IFA will par­tic­i­pate in a spe­cial meet­ing to dis­cuss progress, and prob­lems en­coun­tered on this is­sue in Ire­land, along with rep­re­sen­ta­tive from all EU mem­ber states, in Grange, Co Meath, on Tues­day [to­day] and Wed­nes­day next [to­mor­row].”

Pri­vately, pig pro­duc­ers have told the Farm­ing In­de­pen­dent that a blan­ket ban on tail dock­ing could have se­ri­ous con­se­quences for the in­dus­try, par­tic­u­larly given the cur­rent dif­fi­cul­ties of poor prices and re­turns from the busi­ness.

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