Pigs (England): Code of Recommendations for the Welfare of Livestock: Pigs (PB7950)

Introduction


1. This Code (which only applies in England) covers all pigs. The word pigs refers to all porcine stock, and includes wild boar kept for farming purposes. A piglet refers to a pig from birth to weaning.
2. The Codes recommendations apply to pigs under all husbandry systems. Section 1 of the Code gives the recommendations that apply to all ages and types of pig. Section 2 covers the recommendations that apply to specific categories of pigs (such as boars or pigs kept outdoors). If these recommendations are followed, they will help to protect the stocks welfare. The Codes recommendations are not a complete list and they are not meant to replace expert advice such as from a veterinary surgeon.
3. The husbandry system that is used and the number of pigs kept at any one time, should depend on:
  • the suitability of the farm environment;
  • how many animals the farm can accommodate at one time;
  • the competence of the stock-keeper; and
  • how long the stock-keepers have to carry out their duties.
4. Organic pig farming is conducted according to additional, legally enforced standards. However, nothing in those standards affects the legal responsibilities of organic farmers regarding positive animal welfare. Any matters which appear to conflict with organic standards, should be discussed with your organic certifying body. In addition, you should seek expert advice, such as from a veterinary surgeon.
5. No changes should be made to husbandry, equipment or production until the possible effects on animal welfare have been considered. In particular, the possible effect on animal welfare should be considered before installing more complex or elaborate equipment than has previously been used. In general, the greater the restriction imposed on the animal and the greater the complexity of the overall system, the less the animal is able to use its behaviour to modify the effect of unfavourable conditions. Systems involving a high degree of control over the environment should only be installed where conscientious staff skilled in both animal husbandry and the use of the equipment will always be available.
6. The relevant animal welfare legislation applies to owners as well as to anyone looking after pigs on their behalf, wherever the pigs are - either on the farm or during transport. A written contract can be useful in making sure that everyone involved is clear about his or her animal welfare responsibilities. However, the obligations imposed by law will still apply, whether or not a contract exists. Certain aspects of livestock husbandry can present hazards to the health and safety of the stock-keeper. Advice on such matters is available from the local Agricultural Safety Inspector of the Health and Safety Executive.
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