Transport and tail docking of pigs among EU animal welfare priorities

The European Commission has published an evaluation of the "European Union Strategy for the Protection and Welfare of Animals 2012-2015" to identify the extent to which the objectives have been met.

The European Commission has published an evaluation of the "European Union Strategy for the Protection and Welfare of Animals 2012-2015" to identify the extent to which the objectives have been met.

The Commission, through 20 different actions, set the following objectives:

  • Consider the feasibility of introducing a simplified EU legislative framework
  • Support Member States to improve compliance by educating, training, advising and auditing the competent authorities to strengthen the compliance with the EU animal welfare legislation, sharing of best practices, guidance and raising awareness amongst business operators
  • Develop EU level knowledge of certain issues by producing new EU-level knowledge and evidence and taking decisions on that basis
  • Promote EU animal welfare standards globally
  • Optimise synergies with the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP); i.e. funding under the Rural Development Programme for animal welfare payments which compensate farmers for costs or income losses associated with commitments going beyond mandatory requirements, to support farmers investing in animal welfare...
  • Provide consumers and the public with appropriate information on animal
    welfare via EU communication and education activities

According to the report, all of the strategy's actions have been implemented, with the exception of the one requiring an assessment of the feasibility of introducing a simplified legislative framework.

EU producers perceive the fact that products imported into the EU do not have to comply with EU animal welfare standards (except for slaughter) as a threat to their competitiveness. Within or outside trade agreements, the bilateral cooperation has achieved concrete results over the years such as the creation of working groups with partners (e.g. Chile and New Zealand). This was for example a trigger for Chile to develop a full body of national legislation on animal welfare and for New Zealand and Canada to set up equivalence on animal welfare at slaughter. The EU-Brazil Sectorial Dialogue Instrument in the context of a Memorandum of Understanding on animal welfare has also made progress. In parallel, the Commission and the EU Member States have also been active on a multilateral level by contributing to the process of development, adoption and implementation of the 14 OIE international standards on animal welfare and cooperating with the FAO.

The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) is to implement animal welfare standards that go beyond the minimum legislative requirements. These animal welfare payments compensate farmers for income loss and/or additional costs stemming from carrying out commitments going beyond the minimum requirements set out in the legislation. However, this measure is optional and only a limited number of Member States has used this possibility.

The level of understanding of animal welfare issues within diverse groups such as general public, students, consumers and professionals working with animals were also assessed during the strategy. The aim was to identify where deficiencies still persist and to suggest means of improving knowledge levels through education and the dissemination of information.

Ongoing Commission activities on animal welfare

In terms of enforcement, the two key Commission priorities were and remain the protection of animals during transport and the welfare of pigs with particular focus on tail docking.

Regarding the transport of animals, the Commission focussed its work on addressing challenges related to long journeys. To ensure that the legislation is correctly applied, the Commission audited several Member States within a three-year project (2017-2019). This project focused exclusively on the welfare of animals exported to third countries by road and by sea.

As regards the welfare of pigs, the Commission developed activities to support Member States to improve their level of compliance. In March 2016, the Commission adopted a Recommendation on the application of Directive 2008/120/EC laying down minimum standards for the protection of pigs as regards measures to reduce the need for tail docking. Tail docking should only to be carried out under strictly defined circumstances, however it is still routinely practiced by many Member States. It is accompanied by a Staff Working Document, which provides the technical tools to improve implementation and enforcement of the legislation. In addition to the strategy, the Commission performed audits in the Member States to evaluate how they have used this Recommendation to improve compliance with EU legislation. The Commission has also developed extensive communication materials to help pig farmers and to encourage them, with different approaches to avoid routine tail-docking.

April 8, 2021/ EURLEX/ European Union.
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Lower pork production predicted for Russia due to ASF outbreaks

The National Union of Pig Producers lowered its forecast for pork production in 2021 due to outbreaks of ASF in large companies.

According to the General Director of the National Union of Pig Producers, Yuri Kovalev, because of outbreaks of African swine fever (ASF) at the end of November, December, and part of January, the forecast for pork production decreased by 100,000 tons to 250,000 tons, with an increase in production of about 4-5%.

He added that "because of oversaturation of the market there could be a decrease in wholesale prices, but because we lowered the forecast for growth, we think that the price will not go down, will remain at last year's level, a little over 100 rubles per kilogram live weight."

About 560,000 pigs were destroyed in Russia between November 2020 and January 2021 because of ASF, with industrial giants such as Miratorg and Cherkizovo affected, according to the National Union of Pork Producers.

A total of 23 outbreaks of African swine fever have been registered in Russia since the beginning of this year: 11 in domestic animals (26,700 animals were affected) and 12 in wild boar.

March 31, 2021/ Veterinary & Life/ Russia.
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Philippines encourages ASF reporting by doubling compensation for lost hogs

Efforts intensify to encourage the hog raisers severely affected by ASF to resume business and subsequently stabilize pork supply and prices,

Agriculture Secretary William Dar said the Department of Agriculture through the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (DA-PCIC) is increasing its indemnity for hogs culled due to African swine fever (ASF).

“Through the PCIC insurance program, we are doubling the indemnification payout for every pig that contracts ASF from P5,000 to P10,000. With the increased indemnity, hog raisers are encouraged to report affected pigs, thus controlling the ASF from spreading,” the DA chief said.

“The PCIC swine industry insurance program strongly complements the DA’s twin program of Bantay ASF sa Barangay to effectively control, contain and manage the ASF, and the Integrated National Swine Production Initiatives for Recovery and Expansion (INSPIRE) or hog repopulation program to revive the country’s swine industry,” he added.

For his part, DA-PCIC president Atty. Jovy Bernabe said the swine insurance program is a relaxed version of the agency’s regular livestock insurance program, offering free premium payments for backyard raisers and discounted premium for commercial hog raisers, and increased indemnity payments for culled hogs.

“For backyard swine raisers, the subsidy will be 100 percent (%) of the premium cost, provided they are listed in the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA), while for commercial swine raisers, the premium subsidy will be discounted,” said Bernabe.

For backyard farmers, the DA-PCIC provides 1.75% premium for fatteners and 3.5 percent for breeders, which are waived as free. Commercial farmers pay the same premium rates, discounted from the regular rates of 2.25% and 4%, for their stocks to be covered.

He added that the insurance covers P10,000 per head for fatteners, P14,500 per head for breeders, and P34,000 per head for parent stocks.

Bernabe said that aside from backyard swine raisers and farmers’ cooperatives, the insurance program will also cover local government units, and state colleges and universities, which implement respective hog fattening and breeding programs.

April 6, 2021/ Department of Agriculture/ Philippines.
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