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

Section 1 - Recommendations for all pigs


The Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2003 (S.I. 2003 No. 299) Schedule 6, Part II, paragraph 2, requires that:

All pigs shall be inspected by the owner or keeper of the pigs at least once a day to check that they are in a state of well being.

11. The health and welfare of animals depends on them being regularly inspected. Adequate lighting must be available to enable thorough inspection of the stock. All stock-keepers should be familiar with the normal behaviour of pigs. Badly managed and unhealthy pigs will not thrive, and it is essential that the stock-keeper should watch for signs of distress, disease or aggression towards an animal by other pigs in the group. To do this, it is important that stock-keepers have enough time to:

(a) inspect the stock;

(b) check equipment; and

(c) take action to deal with any problem.

12. The stock-keeper should always be looking out for signs of ill health in pigs, which include:

(a) separation from the group;

(b) listlessness;

(c) swollen navel, udder or joints;

(d) rapid or irregular breathing;

(e) persistent coughing or panting;

(f) shivering;

(g) discolouration or blistering of the skin;

(h) loss of body condition;

(i) sneezing;

(j) lameness (inspection of the feet and legs is particularly important);

(k) lack of co-ordination;

(l) constipation;

(m) diarrhoea;

(n) poor appetite; and

(o) vomiting.

13. You should be able to anticipate problems or recognise them in their earliest stages and, in many cases, you should be able to identify the cause and put matters right immediately. Always consider the possibility that the pigs may be affected by a notifiable disease (see paragraphs 36 - 37). If the cause is not obvious, or if your immediate action is not effective, a veterinary surgeon or other expert should be called in immediately - failure to do so may cause unnecessary suffering.
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