The new era of Animal Welfare in Pig Production – Are we ready?


Antonio Velarde

The pig sector must combine profitability and productivity with the demands of consumers and the new regulations on animal welfare.

Is the pig sector ready to include animal welfare in its priorities?

Today more than ever, we are certainly prepared for the future. To do so, the pig sector has to face up to the challenges posed by legislation, society and markets.

Animal welfare has become an important basis of sustainable production and is closely related to other important aspects such as animal health, productivity, food safety, quality and efficiency.


The demand for animal-friendly products is increasing as public awareness and perception of production systems grows. Furthermore, welfare is not only a question of ethics, but also an essential tool for accessing and remaining competitive in markets.

For example, in the short term, Europe face the challenge of adequate and complete implementation of the legislation contained in Council Directive 2008/120/EC of 18 December 2008 laying down minimum standards for the protection of pigs.

Its implementation by all Member States allow harmonizing the market making that all the products can circulate freely through their territory.

The challenge of prohibition on routine tail docking

Currently, the main challenge of the pig sector in Welfare Animal is the prohibition to perform the tail docking on a routine basis without increasing the problems of caudophagy or tail chewing.

Tail docking in piglets is the standard practice to prevent caudophagy in most Member States. However, is questionable for several reasons:



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