Soundbites Pig Welfare Conference: 3. Workshop

On 29 – 30 April 2015 Denmark hosted an international conference “Improving Pig Welfare – what are the ways forward?“.

During the two-day conference, top academics, experts and political stakeholders from around the world debated and worked to prepare the way forward in improving pig welfare in Europe and ultimately in the world. Ministers from the Netherlands, Germany and Sweden participated.

Below you find ‘soundbites’ from conference workshops, all more or less related to the subjects of study in the FareWellDock project.

Workshop 3: Tail docking of piglets

The workshop on tail docking of piglets at the Pig Welfare Conference in DK had a very interesting poll showing that 95 % of the participants believe that it is realistic to stop tail docking either immediately or within a 10 years period.

Suggested solutions and ways forward for pig welfare (from Workshop 3): Stopping tail docking immediately …and encouraging the farmer to think “out of the box”; sharing information regarding manipulative material.

Workshop presentations:

Torben Jensen, Chief Manager, SEGES, Danish Pig Research Centre:
Intact Tails – A Challenge!
To dock or not to dock – what is in the producer’s best interest? (T. Jensen)
THE UNDERLYING PROCESSES OF TAIL BITING: foraging activity and tail damage are central (T. Jensen, Slide 3)
ENRICHMENT materials’ relative effect at reducing tail biting (D’Eath et al. 2014): 500gr compost/d is better than 500gr straw, but the latter may be equivalent to 12.5-20gr/p/d (T. Jensen, Slide 4)
Standard Undocked may pay off for some farmers but it is a more risky choice and has inferior welfare to Standard Docked (T. Jensen)
Cessation of tail docking increases the incidence of tail biting even in well-managed herds (T. Jensen)
Tail lesions are more frequent in organic and free range production than in conventional production (T. Jensen)
By tail docking producers are acting in their own best interest (T. Jensen)
To compare welfare consequences of no docking at a farm level the number of tail bitten pigs must be considered (T. Jensen).

Workshop 5: Market driven animal welfare. The role for retailers and consumers

Hans Spoolder, Professor, Wageningen University:
EconWelfare: Upgrading Animal Welfare Standards Across Europe
We need transparent animal welfare labeling schemes (H. Spoolder)
EU wide legislation is important to set the lower boundaries for farm animal welfare, and it needs to be enforced (H. Spoolder).
The overall goal of animal welfare policy should be the same everywhere in the EU (H. Spoolder).