Watch Viva!’s Pig In Hell footage of 18 pig units (copies available from Viva!) and you may be concerned about the lack of legal protection for pigs. It is Viva!’s view that the law is weak and ineffective and that MAFF do not enforce what regulations there are.
Examples from the Welfare of Farmed Animals Regulations 2000 are:
· All pigs should be inspected once a day
· Sick or injured pigs shall, where necessary, be isolated with dry comfortable bedding
· A pig shall be able to turn around at all times (and no more is legal) - with the exception of sows in farrowing crates
· The dimension of the pig’s cell shall be such that the internal area is not less than the square of the length of the pig and no internal side is less than 75% of the length of the pig
· Pigs should not be kept permanently in darkness. Throughout the hours of daylight the level of indoor lighting, natural or artificial should be such that all housed pigs can be seen clearly
· Pigs must have a clean place to rest that is comfortable and is well-drained
· Bedding does not have to be provided, but if it is must be clean and dry
· Housing, pens, equipment must be properly cleaned and disinfected
· Faeces and urine must be removed frequently to minimise smell and avoid attracting rodents and flies
· Floors should provide maximum comfort for the pig to lie, stand and walk.
· When placed in farrowing crates, sows and gilts must be thoroughly clean
· Gilts and sows between weaning their piglets and prenatal period shall have clean, drained, comfortable lying are (giving nesting material is not required)
· Piglets must be provided with a heat source and dry, comfortable lying area away from the sow
· Tail docking and tooth clipping are legal so long as it is shown that without mutilating the pigs, they would tail bite or injure the sow’s teats
· Piglets can be weaned from three weeks onwards
· Rearing pigs will have minimum space of:
Space Weight of pig
0.2 sq. m 10 to 20 kg
0.55 sq. m 50 to 85 kg
1 sq. m more than 110kg
· MAFF recommends the use of bedding for all breeding stock. However they recommended this in the 1983 Codes when sow stalls were legal and no bedding at all was provided to the majority of pregnant sows. An illustration of the extent to which MAFF's codes are followed.
· Carcasses should be disposed of by eg incineration for small pigs; placing in a pit in which microbial digestion can occur. It may be built from a large diameter concrete pipe with earth floor and airtight lid. Pigs should not be left dead in their pens, in the gangways or in open pits.