New Danish agreement aims to ensure improved welfare and future growth

New Danish agreement aims to ensure improved welfare and future growth

A new agreement for improving pig welfare standards has been reached between the Danish Minister for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, Dan Jørgensen, and organisations with an interest in pig production in Denmark.

These include Denmark’s leading animal welfare campaigners, Dyrenes Beskyttelse (Animal Protection) and Dyrenes Venner (Animals’ Friends) and Landbrug & Fødevarer (Danish Agriculture & Food Council). Representatives of Denmark’s veterinary profession, retailers and consumer groups were also signatories to a formal declaration*, whose terms will ensure improved welfare for pigs while helping the Danish pig industry to realise its growth potential in the years ahead. The agreement was reached at a recent ‘Welfare Summit’ convened by the Minister.

“We are delighted that the parties have succeeded in reaching a broad agreement, which will secure even higher pig welfare standards in Denmark. At the same time, it recognises that Danish pig production should achieve the economic growth that Danish society wants. The agreement underpins our future work by finding solutions to some of the major challenges of pig production,” says Martin Merrild, DAFC Chairman.

Mr. Merrild says that the agreement is a natural extension of the important work on improved welfare that the industry, in partnership with scientists and the authorities, has been engaged in over a number of years.

The agreement will set specific targets, with immediate actions identified, in the following areas:

  • Improve survival rates among piglets
  • Encourage uptake of free-farrowing systems for sows – at least 10% of sows by 2020
  • Find alternatives to castration of male piglets without anaesthetic by 2018 latest
  • Reduce numbers of tail-docked piglets
  • Lower incidence of stomach ulcers in both sows and finishing pigs

In addition, a major project for new housing design will focus on welfare considerations. The Danish meat industry and retail trade will also provide consumers with more information and greater choice of higher welfare products.

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