March 2016 the European Commission takes another step to reduce tail docking and improve enrichment for pigs as part of its animal welfare strategy.
Here are some relevant phrases from the announcement made on the Commission’s website:
The welfare of pigs is assured by Council Directive 2008/120/EC.
It applies to all categories of pig and lays down minimum standards for their protection:
- Providing permanent access to …. materials for rooting and playing
COMMISSION RECOMMENDATION (EU) 2016/336 of 8 March 2016 on the application of Council Directive 2008/120/EC laying down minimum standards for the protection of pigs as regards measures to reduce the need for tail-docking.
STAFF WORKING DOCUMENT on best practices with a view to the prevention of routine tail-docking and the provision of enrichment materials to pigs [SWD(2016)49 final] Following the adoption of the Commission Recommendation (EU) 2016/336 as regards measures to reduce the need for tail-docking, the staff working document provides useful tools to a harmonised understanding on how the provision of manipulable material and avoidance of tail-docking can be practically achieved.
The working document recognises that proper enrichment is important to help prevent tail biting, and hence the need for tail docking.
Specified as unsafe are synthetic ropes, tyres, dry wood, dry sawdust, poorly stored straw, untreated peat/mushroom compost and dirty objects.
Furthermore proper enrichment should have one or more of the following qualities:
- Edible or feed-like (to eat or smell)
- Chewable (to bite)
- Investigable (to root)
- Manipulable (to change its location, appearance or
Provision should be
- of sustainable interest
- of sufficient quantity