Finnish welfare competence exported to European pig farms

2.2.2016

<p>Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira demonstrated to the European Commission in January 2016 Finnish competence in pig welfare. Unlike in almost all the other EU states, the tails of pigs are not docked in Finland. Finnish pig farming expertise is exported elsewhere in Europe to serve as a model.&nbsp;</p>

Representatives of the European Commission as well as experts from several member states acquainted themselves with pig husbandry in Finland. They were particularly interested in seeing how the farming of undocked pigs can be successfully implemented in Finland. Pig tail-docking has been banned completely in Finland since 2002. In almost all the other EU countries the tails of pigs are docked to prevent tail biting.

”We have very little tail biting caused by stress and inadequate husbandry conditions in Finland”, says Ms. Jaana Mikkola, Head of Section atEvira.

Finland has already for years invested in factors that contribute to the welfare of pigs, such as enrichment, suitable flooring, adequate feeding, stocking density and health care.

The objective of the European Commission is that tail docking can be given up in all EU member states in compliance with the Finnish model. Finnish competence and good pig farming practices are utilised as an example for the other EU countries.

”Pig producers, meat industry, health care system and authorities have together improved the welfare of pigs in Finland. This would not have been possible without cooperation and commitment”, Ms. Mikkola stresses.

Practical learning at Finnish pig farms

In addition to meetings with experts in various fields, the EU representatives also visited two pig farms to acquaint themselves in practice with the preconditions for and challenges related to the farming of undocked pigs. Apart from examining pig welfare competence, the visitors also intend to follow the Finnish example as concerns the design of the farms. The importance of the training and cooperation of the producers and veterinarians was also emphasised.

The poor financial situation of pig producers across Europe may influence the investments to be made in the welfare of pigs. Structural modifications of pig farms, for example, are expensive and time consuming. The lower export price paid for undocked pigs was also considered a drawback by the visitors.

The excursion of the representatives of the European Commission in Finland took place on 25–29 January 2016. National experts from five member states, Germany, Denmark, Spain, Austria and Ireland, also took part in the visit.

For more information, please contact:
Taina Mikkonen, Senior Officer, tel. +358 40 830 8404
Jaana Mikkola, Head of Section, tel. +358 40 831 8425

 

 

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