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The Council Directive 2001/88/EC amends the Council Directive 91/630/EC laying down minimum standards for the protection of pigs and aims in particular to:

  • Ban the use of individual stalls for pregnant sows and gilts during a period starting from 4 weeks after service to 1 week before the expected time of farrowing and the use of tethers,
  • Improve the quality of the flooring surfaces,
  • Increase the living space available for sows and gilts,
  • Allow the sows and gilts to have permanent access to materials for rooting,
  • Introduce higher level of training and competence on welfare issues for the stockmen and the personnel in charge of the animals,
  • Request new scientific advice in relation to certain issues of pig farming.
From 1 January 2003 these requirements are applicable to all holdings newly built or rebuilt. From 1 January 2013 these provisions shall apply to all holdings.

In parallel, the Commission has adopted Directive 2001/93/EC amending the Annex to Council Directive 91/630/EEC on the welfare of pigs. Supplementary improvements have been achieved for all categories of pigs.

The Standing Veterinary Committee supported the proposal of the Commission aimed to introduce improved standards concerning the following issues:

  • Light requirements and maximum noise levels,
  • Permanent access to materials for rooting and playing,
  • Permanent access to fresh water,
  • Additional restrictive conditions to carry out mutilations on pigs,
  • Minimum weaning age of four weeks.
The Member States have to apply the new requirements from 2003 on.

The two Directives were initially proposed by the Commission on the basis of the Scientific Committee 's report " The Welfare of Intensively Kept Pigs" EFSA has adopted a number of scientific opinions on the welfare aspects of pig farming:

  • Scientific Opinion on the welfare aspects of the castration of piglets
  • Scientific Opinion on the welfare of weaners and rearing pigs: effects of different space allowances and floor types
  • Scientific Opinion on animal health and welfare in fattening pigs in relation to housing and husbandry
  • Scientific Opinion on the animal health and welfare aspects of different housing and husbandry systems for adult breeding boars, pregnant, farrowing sows and unweaned piglets
  • Scientific Opinion on the risks associated with tail biting in pigs and possible means to reduce the need for tail docking considering the different housing and husbandry systems
  • Scientific Opinion on Food safety aspects of different pig housing and husbandry systems.