The free-farrowing systems report from the Farm Animal Welfare Committee (FAWC) is a “common sense” document which could prove to be a “useful roadmap” for UK pig farmers, according to the National Pig Association (NPA).
NPA’s welcome for the report includes appreciation of the recognition of pig farmers’ efforts on the issue and the committee’s conclusion that future developments must be science-led and commercially viable.
“Farrowing crates are used on about half of Britain’s pig farms, to protect piglets and stock-people from injury, and we agree with the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recommendation that free-farrowing systems should only be implemented if piglet mortality is no greater than the mean level in confined systems,” said NPA chief executive Dr Zoe Davies (pictured above).
“We are in agreement with FAWC and EFSA that accurate data is essential in order to make robust comparisons between confined and non-confined systems and are pleased FAWC places such importance on commercial viability.
“We are also pleased it warns against any future unilateral legislation in Britain. If and when we reach the stage where free-farrowing systems are proven to perform as well as farrowing crates, then any legislation must be at European Union level, and there must be a phase-in period that is agreed with the European pig industry.”