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WPC - Concerns Raised over Introduction of Loose Pig Housing

07 October 2011

GERMANY - Tackling the problems that egg producers n the EU have in fulfilling the new directive on enriched cages for laying hens could be used as a model for the EU directive on loose housing for pigs.

Speaking at the World Pork Conference in Bonn, Andrea Gavinelli, the head of the Unit of Animal Welfare at the directorate General for Health and Consumers at the European Commission said that data is being collected to ensure the smoothest possible transition across the EU to loose housing in 2013.

"We are not going to wait until 31 December next year," he told the conference.

"We are looking at the data for each member state and we will have the statistics next year and we should then be able to see the appropriate action to take."

Dr Gavinelli said that the situation is different in different member states and where some will achieve the standards and others not there could be tension.

He said that the situation will be similar to the one at present for eggs and this will be a testing ground to see how to approach the problem.

He said that once the data has been collected then the commission will have a better picture and will then decide how to proceed.

Dr Gavinelli also told the conference that the European Commission is working towards an agreement for a voluntary end to surgical castration of piglets by 2018.

He said that from 1 January next year castration will only be able to take place with the use of anaesthetic and analgesics.

However, he added: "Castration will not be banned. You cannot change the market trend."

He said that the EC is adopting a multi-stakeholder approach to the issue and it will need financial support for the EU to develop tools to achieve this.

The Commission is looking at consumer acceptance of castration, the economics of the issue and also development of methods to detect boar taint.

However he added that there was not enough money in the budget to do everything they want to study the situation and develop solutions and added that the commission will be seeking funds from outside to help the work.

TheMeatSite News Desk

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