For immediate use
8th September 2003
Too Little, Too Late: Scottish Executive
Pig Welfare Rules Condemned
Campaigning vegetarian organisation Viva! has condemned
the new pig welfare regulations being debated in the Scottish
Parliament on Wednesday as a shameful missed opportunity to
improve the welfare of factory-farmed pigs. The regulations
are being introduced in response to an EU Directive that was
supposed to have been implemented by January 1st 2003. They
are, therefore, being brought to Parliament nine months late.
Contact: Alistair Currie, 0117 944 1000
Viva! has investigated farms all over the UK, including Scotland.
Its most recent undercover investigations are featured on
the enclosed video. Viva! is profoundly disappointed that
the new regulations continue to allow
- the confinement of sows in farrowing crates, metal
cages in which they are forced to give birth;
- mutilations such as tooth-clipping and tail-docking
which "punish" pigs for behavioural problems caused
by factory farming techniques;
- the weaning of piglets at three weeks old, months
before it is natural;
- pigs to be kept on hard flooring with no kind of
- the keeping of large, active, intelligent animals
such as pigs indoors in conditions which completely prevent
them from expressing normal behaviour.
When this subjected was debated in the Subordinate Legislation
Committee before the recess, members admitted to not understanding
the complex space regulations at all. The legislation also
contains the "pigs' playthings" clause which caused
much comment in England thanks to the suggestion that pigs
should be given footballs to provide "mental stimulation".
The Environment and Rural Affairs Committee is due to consider
these regulations on Wednesday. Viva! has written to all Green
MSPs and members of the Committee.
Viva! campaigner Alistair Currie said, "It is incredible
that in a civilized country in the 21st Century we still accept
that animals can be kept in the way pigs are kept on factory
farms. The Executive appears to be so complacent about this
problem that they couldn't work up enough energy to introduce
even these marginal improvements until nine months after the
EU expected them to be implemented. In the Parliament, MSPs
cracked jokes when they discussed this subject in June. We
are appalled that there appears to be no political will to
address the animal welfare disaster taking place every day
on pig farms throughout Scotland. We only hope that the Scottish
Greens will stick by their principles and oppose this measure."
Notes for editors
Viva! also has still images of pigs on Scottish factory farms,
available in most formats.
Viva! has a Scottish Contact available for comment. Contact
Alistair Currie for details.
The legislation has been introduced in response to EU Directives
2001/93/EC and 2001/88/EC which were supposed to be implemented
by 1st Jan 2003
When the Subordinate Legislation Committee reviewed the draft
of these regulations on 24th June, members admitted to being
"utterly lost" and joked about asking the pig how
"easy" it was to move in its pen (Official Report,
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