EFSA has just issued the last in a series of three Scientific Opinions concerning the welfare of farmed pigs. The latest report focuses on the problem of tail-biting (a distressing form of abnormal behaviour that is known to occur in intensive farming conditions) and on possible ways to reduce the need for tail-docking which farmers can use to tackle the problem. The Opinions identifies factors that can cause the problem including the absence of straw, the presence of slatted floors and a barren environment.
This work by EFSA’s AHAW Panelhelps inform the European Commission in its review of the European legislation on minimum standards for the protection of pigs (Council Directive 91/630/EEC, as amended). It is to be read alongside two recent AHAW Opinions on pig welfare concerning housing and husbandry practices for adult breeding boars, pregnant, farrowing sows and unweaned piglets and for fattening pigs. In the past, EFSAhas also issued advice on piglet castration and the effects of different space allowances and floor types on the welfare of weaners and rearing pigs (see below for more information).
Animal welfare is an essential part of EFSA’s mandate. EFSA’s AHAW Panel carries out a wide range of work that helps risk managers review the European regulatory framework under the umbrella of the Community Animal Health Policy(CAHP) and in line with the Animal Health Strategy (2007-2013) and the Community Action Plan on the Protection and Welfare of Animals (2006-2010).The AHAW Panel is currently carrying out important work to develop and harmonise European risk assessment approaches in the field of animal welfare, which includes devising indicators to help provide quantitative data for scientifically evaluating the conditions of farmed animals. The AHAW Panel applies the latest scientific approaches in its outputs including the three latest Opinions on pig welfare.
Scientific Opinions on pig welfare
- Risks associated with tail biting in pigs and possible means to reduce the need for tail docking considering the different housing and husbandry systems
- Animal health and welfare aspects of different housing and husbandry systems for adult breeding boars, pregnant, farrowing sows and unweaned piglets (2007)
- Animal health and welfare in fattening pigs in relation to housing and husbandry (2007 scientific report)
- Welfare aspects of the castration of piglets
- Welfare of weaners and rearing pigs: effects of different space allowances and floor types
- Council Directive 91/630/EEC laying down minimum standards for the protection of pigs
- Council Directive 2001/88/EC amending Council Directive 91/630/EEC
- Council Directive 98/58/EC of 20 July 1998 concerning the protection of animals kept for farming purposes
 Scientific Panel on Animal Health and Welfare