Environment and Rural Affairs Department
Pentland House, 47 Robb's Loan, Edinburgh EH14 1TY, Telephone: 0131-244-6178,
Fax: 0131-244-6616 E-Mail: Animal.firstname.lastname@example.org
To Interested Parties
CODE OF RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE WELFARE OF PIGS
This letter seeks your comments on the following enclosed documents:
- draft regulations which will implement, in Scotland, Council Directive 2001/88/EC and Commission Directive 2001/93/EC concerning the welfare of pigs. The regulations will amend the Welfare of Farmed Animals (Scotland) Regulations 2000 SSI 2000 No 442'(copy avaliable on request)
- a draft partial Regulatory Impact Assessment; and (copy avaliable on request)
- a new draft Code of Recommendations for the Welfare of Livestock - Pigs.
The new Code is intended to encourage all those who care for pigs to adopt the highest standards of husbandry and will replace the existing Code which was published in 1983. The draft code takes account of the Welfare of Farmed Animals (Scotland) Regulations 2000; Directive 98/58/EC concerning the protection of animals kept for farming purposes; the Farm Animal Welfare Council's 1996 Report on the Welfare of Pigs Kept Outdoors and the Commission Directives amending Directive 91/630/EEC laying down the minimum standards for the protection of pigs.
The Code will be made under Section 3 of the Agriculture (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1968. The Welfare of Farmed Animals (Scotland) Regulations 2000 require all stock-keepers to have access to the Code and be familiar with its provisions. Employers must ensure their staff receive guidance on the Code.
In an attempt to make our welfare codes more user-friendly, all welfare information is now in one place. For reasons of clarity we have included text boxes throughout the Code that highlight the relevant legal requirements, alongside the advice (refers to the fianl printed version). General advice applicable to all pigs forms the first section of the Code, followed by more specific advice on, for example, pigs kept in outdoor husbandry systems, in the second section.
Please send comments to Allan McFarlane, Room 350 Pentland House, 47 Robb's Loan, Edinburgh EH14 1TY. The closing date for comments is 31 January 2003.
Once the consultation process is complete your comments will be taken into account in preparing a revised version of the draft Code. As with the Regulations, the Code will then have to be approved in Parliament, with debates in both Houses. The new Code will only apply to Scotland - similar revised Codes will be produced in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in due course.
So as to inform the public debate on the issues raised, we would normally make publicly available (at the end of the consultation period) copies of the comments received. I shall assume, therefore that all replies can be made publicly available unless you indicate otherwise. At the end of the consultation period copies of comments will be available to personal callers from the main Scottish Executive Library at Saughton House, K Spur, Broomhouse Drive, Edinburgh EH11 3XD (Tel 0131 244 4552). To enable requests to be dealt with efficiently, it would be appreciated if personal callers could give Library staff at least 24 hours notice of their requirements.
Animal Health and Welfare Branch
Code of Recommendations for the Welfare of Livestock: Pigs
Introduction1 - 5
Recommendations for all pigs
Stockmanship 6 - 16
General 6 - 9
Inspection 10 - 12
Handling 13 - 16
Biosecurity 19 - 24
Condition scoring 25
Lameness 26 - 28
External parasites 29
Internal parasites 30
Equipment for vaccination and treatment 31
Notifiable diseases 32 - 33
Sick and injured animals 34 - 40
Accommodation 41 - 60
General 41 - 43
Floors 44 - 45
Ventilation and temperature 46 - 52
Lighting and noise levels 53 - 54
Automated and mechanical equipment 55 - 57
Fire and other emergency precautions 58 - 60
Feed, Water and other Substances 61 - 71
Management 72 - 91
General 72 - 73
Marking 74 - 76
Record keeping 77 - 78
Tail docking 80 - 83
Tooth reduction 84 - 85
Environmental enrichment 86 - 87
Natural service 88
Artificial insemination, vasectomy and
electro-ejaculation 89 - 91
Section 2 - Specific recommendations
Farrowing sows and piglets 92 - 97
Weaners and rearing pigs 98 - 99
Dry sows and gilts 100 - 104
Boars 105 - 107
Pigs kept in outdoor husbandry systems 108 - 127
General 108 - 111
Biosecurity 112 - 113
Accommodation 114 - 118
Feed and water 119 - 121
Fences 122 - 124
Farrowing sows and piglets 125 - 126
Nose ringing 127
This preface is not part of the Code, but is intended to explain its purpose and to indicate the broad considerations upon which it is based. Similarly, the legislation quoted in the boxes throughout the document is not part of the code but is intended to highlight the relevant legal requirements. The law, as quoted in these boxes, is that in force on the date of publication or reprinting of the Code (please turn to the back cover for this information). You should be aware that any of the legal requirements quoted might be subject to change - you should seek confirmation before assuming that these are an accurate statement of the law currently in force.
The Welfare of Farmed Animals (Scotland) Regulations 2000 (S.S.I. 2000 No. 442), Regulation 10, provides that:
- Any person who employs or engages a person to attend to animals must ensure that the person attending to the animals:
- is acquainted with the provisions of all relevant statutory welfare codes relating to the animals being attended to;
- has access to a copy of those codes while he is attending to the animals; and
- has received instruction and guidance on those codes.
- Any person who keeps animals, or who causes or knowingly permits animals to be kept, must not attend to them unless that person has access to all relevant statutory welfare codes relating to the animals while that person is attending to them, and is acquainted with the provisions of those codes.
In Regulation 2 it states that "statutory welfare code" means a code for the time being issued by the Scottish Ministers under Section 3 of the Agriculture (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1968.
To cause unnecessary pain or unnecessary distress to any livestock on agricultural land is an offence under Section 1 (1) of the Agriculture (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1968. The breach of a code provision, whilst not an offence in itself, can nevertheless be used in evidence as tending to establish the guilt of anyone accused of causing the offence of causing unnecessary pain or unnecessary distress under the Act (Section 3 (4)).
The Welfare of Farmed Animals (Scotland) Regulations 2000 (S.S.I. 2000 No. 442), Regulation 3 (1), states that owners and keepers of animals must take all reasonable steps:
- to ensure the welfare of the animals under their care; and
- to ensure that the animals are not caused any unnecessary pain, suffering or injury.
The Welfare of Farmed Animals (Scotland) Regulations 2000 (S.S.I. 2000 No. 442), Regulation 3 (3), states that:
- In deciding whether the conditions under which animals are being bred or kept comply with the requirements set out in Schedule 1 of the Regulations, the owner and keeper of the animals must have regard to their species, and to their degree of development, adaptation and domestication, and to their physiological and ethological needs in accordance with established experience and scientific knowledge.
The Welfare of Farmed Animals (Scotland) Regulations 2000 (S.S.I. 2000 No. 442), Regulation 11, states that:
- Where an authorised person considers that animals are being kept in a way which is likely to cause unnecessary pain, suffering or injury, or in any other way in contravention of any provision of these Regulations, he may serve a notice on the person appearing to him to be in charge of the animals requiring that person within the period stated in the notice, to take any action that the authorised person considers to be reasonably necessary to ensure compliance with these Regulations and the authorised person shall give his reasons for requiring that action to be taken.
The Welfare of Farmed Animals (Scotland) Regulations 2000 (S.S.I. 2000 No. 442), Regulation 13 (2), states that:
- In any proceedings against an owner or keeper of animals for a failure to comply with Regulation 3 (1) or 3 (2), as read with regulation 3 (3), the owner or keeper as the case may be, may rely on his compliance with any relevant recommendations contained in a statutory welfare code as tending to establish his compliance with the relevant Regulation.
The Code aims to encourage all those who care for farm animals to adopt the highest standards of husbandry. Without good stockmanship, animal welfare can never be adequately protected. Adherence to these recommendations will help stock-keepers to reach the required standard. No matter how acceptable a system may be in principle, without competent, diligent stockmanship, the welfare of the animals cannot be adequately catered for. The recommendations which follow are designed to help stock-keepers, particularly those who are young or inexperienced, to attain the required standards. The part that training has to play in the development of the stock-keeper's awareness of welfare requirements cannot be overstressed.
The welfare of pigs is considered within a framework that was developed by the Farm Animal Welfare Council and known as the "Five Freedoms". These form a logical basis for assessing animal welfare within any husbandry system, together with the actions necessary to safeguard animal welfare within the limitations of an efficient livestock industry.
The Five Freedoms are:
1. Freedom from hunger and thirst
- by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigour;
2. Freedom from discomfort
- by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area;
3. Freedom from pain injury or disease
- by prevention or by rapid diagnosis and treatment;
4. Freedom to express most normal behaviour
- by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animals' own kind;
5. Freedom from fear and distress
- by ensuring conditions and treatment to avoid mental suffering.
In acknowledging these freedoms, those people who care for livestock should demonstrate: -
- caring and responsible planning and management;
- skilled, knowledgeable and conscientious stockmanship;
- appropriate environmental design (for example, of the husbandry system);
- considerate handling and transport;
- humane slaughter.
The Protection of Animals (Scotland) Act 1912 contains the general law relating to cruelty to animals. Broadly it is an offence (under Section 1 of the 1912 Act) to be cruel to any domestic or captive animal by anything that is done or omitted to be done.
Section 11 (2) of the 1912 Act empowers a police constable to place, in safe custody, animals in the charge of persons apprehended for an offence under the Act until the end of proceedings or the court orders the return of the animals. The reasonable costs involved, including any necessary veterinary treatment, are recoverable by the police from the owner upon conviction.
Under Section 1 of the Protection of Animals (Amendment) Act 1954, as amended by the 1988 Act, the court has the power to disqualify a person convicted under those Acts from having custody of any animal. The ban can specify a particular kind of animal or all animals for such period as the court thinks fit.
This Code applies in Scotland only and has been issued by the Scottish Ministers (following its approval in draft by the Scottish Parliament). It replaces (also only in Scotland) the existing Code, which was issued in 1983.
Similar Codes are being produced in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Until these new Codes are issued, the existing Code will continue to apply in England and Wales. Separate arrangements exist in Northern Ireland.
THIS WELFARE CODE WAS ISSUED ON *** ***** 2003.
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1. This Code (which only applies in Scotland) covers all pigs. The word "pigs" refers to all porcine stock, and includes wild boar kept for farming purposes. A piglet refers to a pig from birth to weaning.
2. The Code's recommendations apply to pigs under all husbandry systems. Organic pig farming is conducted according to additional, legally enforced standards. However, nothing in those standards affects the legal responsibilities of organic farmers regarding positive animal welfare. Any matters, which appear to conflict with organic standards, should be discussed with your organic certifying body. Section 1 of the Code gives the recommendations that apply to all ages and types of pig. Section 2 covers the recommendations that apply to a more specific age of pig or husbandry system (such as pigs kept outdoors). If these recommendations are followed, they will help to protect the stock's welfare. The Code's recommendations are not a complete list and they are not meant to replace expert advice (such as from a veterinary surgeon). Certain aspects of livestock husbandry can present hazards to the health and safety of the stock-keeper (such as the level of dust in the environment). Advice on such matters is available from the local Agricultural Safety Inspector of the Health and Safety Executive.
3. The husbandry system that is used, and the number of pigs kept at any one time, should depend on:
- the suitability of the farm environment;
- how many animals the farm can accommodate at one time;
- the competence of the stock-keeper; and
- how long the stock-keepers have to carry out their duties.
4. In general, the larger the size or the productivity of the herd, the more skill and care is needed to protect welfare. No changes should be made to husbandry, equipment or production until the possible effects on animal welfare have been considered. The possible effect on animal welfare should be considered before installing more complex or elaborate equipment than has previously been used. In general, the greater the restriction imposed on the animal and the greater the complexity of the overall system, the less the animal is able to use its instinctive behaviour to modify the effect of unfavourable conditions. Systems involving a high degree of control over the environment should only be installed where conscientious staff skilled in both animal husbandry and the use of the equipment will always be available.
5. The relevant animal welfare legislation applies to owners as well as to anyone looking after pigs on their behalf, wherever the pigs are - either on the farm or during transport. A written contract can be useful in making sure that everyone involved is clear about his or her animal welfare responsibilities. However, the obligations imposed by law will still apply, whether or not a contract exists.Back to contents
SECTION 1 - RECOMMENDATIONS FOR ALL PIGS
The Welfare of Farmed Animals (Scotland) Regulations 2000 (S.S.I. 2000 No. 442) define a "keeper" as "any person responsible for or in charge of animals whether on a permanent or temporary basis."
The Welfare of Farmed Animals (Scotland) Regulations 2000 (S.S.I. 2000 No. 442), Schedule 1, paragraph 1, states that:
Animals must be cared for by a sufficient number of staff who possess the appropriate ability, knowledge and professional competence.
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6. The one most significant influence on the welfare of pigs is the stock- keeper, who should develop and carry out an effective routine for ongoing care.
7. In general, the larger the size of the unit the greater the degree of skill and care needed to safeguard welfare. The size of a unit should not be increased, nor should a large unit be set up, unless it is certain that the level of stockmanship will be sufficiently high to safeguard the welfare of each individual pig.
8. Those responsible for managing the farm should make sure that the pigs are cared for by enough well motivated and competent staff. These staff need to be aware of the welfare needs of pigs and be capable of protecting them from all expected problems before they are given any responsibility. This means that the staff need specific stockmanship skills, which they should develop on-farm by working with a skilled stock-keeper who is experienced in the relevant system. Wherever possible, staff should also go on a course run by a suitable training organisation. Ideally, the training should lead to formal recognition of competence. Any contract or casual labour used on the farm should be trained and competent in the relevant activity.
9. Stock-keepers should be competent in a wide range of animal health and welfare skills, which should include:
- handling skills (see paragraphs 13 - 16);
- giving medicines by injection (see paragraph 31);
- preventing and treating lameness (see paragraphs 26 - 28);
- preventing and treating internal and external parasites (see paragraphs 29 - 30);
- care of the sow and her litter (see paragraphs 92 - 97); and
- management of pigs to minimise aggression (see paragraph 99).
If the stock-keeper is expected to perform specific tasks on-farm (for example, artificial insemination or teeth clipping/grinding), then appropriate training should be given. Otherwise, a veterinary surgeon or, for certain tasks, a competent and trained contractor, will be required.
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The Welfare of Farmed Animals (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations 2003 (S.S.I. 2003 No. ????) Schedule 6, Part II, paragraph 3, requires that:
All pigs shall be inspected by the owner or keeper of the pigs at least once a day to check that they are in a state of well-being.
10. The health and welfare of animals depends on them being regularly inspected. Adequate lighting must be available to enable thorough inspection of the stock. All stock-keepers should be familiar with the normal behaviour of pigs. Badly managed and unhealthy pigs will not thrive, and it is essential that the stock-keeper should watch for signs of distress, disease or aggression towards an animal by other pigs in the group. To do this, it is important that stock-keepers have enough time to:
- inspect the stock;
- check equipment; and
- take action to deal with any problem.
11. The stock-keeper should always be looking out for signs of ill health in pigs, which include:
- separation from the group;
- poor appetite;
- discoloration or blistering of the skin;
- rapid or irregular breathing;
- persistent coughing or panting;
- swollen navel, udder or joints;
- lameness (inspection of the feet and legs is particularly important); and
- lack of co-ordination.
12. Stock-keepers should be able to anticipate problems or recognise them in their earliest stages, and, in many cases, they should be able to identify the cause and put matters right immediately. If the cause is not obvious, or if the stock-keeper's immediate action is not effective, a veterinary surgeon or other expert should be called in immediately - failure to do so may cause unnecessary suffering.
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The Welfare of Farmed Animals (Scotland) Regulations 2000 (S.S.I. 2000 No. 442), Schedule 1, paragraph 30, states that:
No person shall apply an electric current to any animals for the purposes of immobilisation.
The Welfare of Animals (Transport) Order 1997 Schedule 2, Part II, paragraph 15, states that:
- Without prejudice to the provisions of article 6 (6), animals shall not be suspended by mechanical means, nor lifted or dragged by the head, horns, legs or tail.
- No person shall use excessive force to control animals.
3. No person shall use:
(a) any instrument which is capable of inflicting an electric shock to control any animal;
(b) any stick (other than a flat slap stick or a slap marker) non-electric goad or other instrument or thing to hit or prod any pigs.
4. The prohibition in paragraph (a) above shall not apply to the use of any instrument on the hindquarters of adult pigs which are refusing to move forward when there is space for them to do so, but the use of any such instrument shall be avoided as far as possible.
5. Nothing in this provision shall prevent the suspension by mechanical means of a receptacle in which an animal is being carried.
13. Pigs should be moved at their own pace. You should encourage them gently - especially around corners and where it is slippery underfoot. You should avoid too much noise, excitement or force. You must not hit the animals, or put pressure on any particularly sensitive part of the body. Anything you use, such as pig boards, to guide the animals should only be used for that purpose and must not have a sharp or pointed end.
14. You should make sure that any concrete floors and walkways are well maintained and provide a non-slip surface without putting too much pressure on the animals' feet. The floor should not slope too steeply as steeper slopes can cause leg problems.
The Welfare of Farmed Animals (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations 2003 (S.S.I. 2003 No. ????), Schedule 6, Part II, paragraphs 5 and 6 state that:
No person shall tether or cause to be tethered any pig except while it is undergoing any examination, test, treatment or operation carried out for any veterinary purpose.
Where the use of tethers is permitted in accordance with paragraph 5, they shall not cause injury to the pigs and shall be inspected regularly and adjusted as necessary to ensure a comfortable fit.
Each tether shall be of sufficient length to allow the pigs to move as stipulated in paragraph 7(2) below and the design shall be such as to avoid, as far as possible, any risk of strangulation, pain or injury.
15. All stock-keepers must have access to easy to use and efficient handling systems. This is to allow you to routinely manage and treat the animals, and make sure that they are quietly and firmly handled.
The Welfare of Animals (Transport) Order 1997, Schedule 2, paragraph 10 states that:
- Animals shall be loaded and unloaded in accordance with this paragraph.
- Save as provided in sub-paragraphs (6) and (7) below they shall be loaded and unloaded using suitable ramps, bridges, gangways or mechanical lifting gear, operated so as to prevent injury or unnecessary suffering to any animal.
- The flooring of any loading equipment shall be constructed so as to prevent slipping.
- Subject to sub-paragraph (6) below, ramps, bridges, gangways and loading platforms shall be provided on each side with protection which is -
- of sufficient strength, length and height to prevent any animal using the loading equipment from falling or escaping; and
- positioned so that it will not result in injury or unnecessary suffering to any animal.
(6) An animal may be loaded or unloaded by means of manual lifting or carrying if the animal is of a size that it can be easily lifted by not more than two persons and the operation is carried out without causing injury or unnecessary suffering to the animal.
(7) An animal may be loaded or unloaded without equipment or by manual lifting or carrying provided that, having regard to the age, height and species of the animal, it is unlikely to be caused injury or unnecessary suffering by being loaded or unloaded in this manner.
16. You must have the facilities on-farm to load and unload pigs onto and from a vehicle, with as little stress as possible. Stock-keepers should know how to handle animals during loading and unloading, including when and how to use pig boards to guide the animal.
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17. Maintenance of good health is the most basic requirement affecting the welfare of the pig. Measures to protect health include good hygiene, effective ventilation and vaccinations for certain diseases may be appropriate. You should ensure that only authorised veterinary medicinal products, including vaccines, are used. Useful information on the health status of the herd can be obtained from feedback at meat inspection in the abattoir.
18. A written health and welfare plan should be drawn up, together with the herd's veterinary surgeon. You should review and update your health and welfare plan at least once a year. This plan should set out health and husbandry activities that cover the cycle of production, and include strategies to treat or limit existing disease problems. The plan should include enough records for you to assess the basic output of the herd. It should also, as a minimum, look at:
- biosecurity arrangements and purchased stock procedures;
- any specific disease programmes, such as salmonella, erysipelas, E. coli, mycoplasma and parvo virus;
- vaccination policy and timing;
- external and internal parasite control;
- lameness monitoring and foot care;
- routine procedures, such as ear tagging; and
- prevention and control of vices such as tail biting.
The health and welfare plan should make sure that animals get any necessary medical treatment at the correct time and in the correct dose.
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19. Biosecurity means:
- keeping farm units secure from the introduction of infectious diseases;
- minimising the spread of any diseases on the unit; and
- preventing the spread of disease off the farm.
If you and your stock-keepers take proper precautions when you move within the farm or you move animals and equipment, you can greatly reduce the chance of spreading any disease.
20. Incoming stock presents the greatest risk to the health of the herd as regards infectious disease. You should ask the vendor to provide you with information on the health of the herd and routine vaccination. You should have isolation facilities so that you can isolate and test incoming stock for a period when they arrive, before they join the rest of the herd.
21. Only essential visitors should be allowed onto the unit and they should follow disinfection procedures and wear unit clothing and footwear. A visitor book should be provided and visitors asked to sign to say they have not been near other pigs or livestock for an agreed period, as stipulated in your herd health and welfare plan. A system should be provided to alert staff of visitors at the gate.
22. Loading facilities and, where possible, feed bins should be sited at the unit perimeter. Vehicles should be kept off the unit wherever possible but where entry is essential they must be cleansed and disinfected thoroughly.
23. A programme of pest control should be in place for rodents etc. Every effort should be made to make housing proof against birds, such as starlings. Domestic pets, feral cats and other wild animals should be discouraged.
24. It is not possible to prevent all airborne infections from entering a unit but when planning new units these should be sited as far as is practicable from other pig units as this will reduce the risk of spread of airborne infectious diseases. More information is available on biosecurity, especially cleansing and disinfecting, on DEFRA's website ( www.defra.gov.uk) and in various DEFRA publications (see the appendix).
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25. Body condition scoring can contribute greatly to good husbandry and help to avoid costly welfare problems. Condition scoring is an easy technique to learn. Basically, it means that you can quickly assess the body reserves of individual animals. The technique will be of benefit to the herd if you use it as a routine management tool to check that pigs are in the best possible condition. This will be particularly useful at certain stages in their production:
- farrowing/early lactation; and
- at weaning/drying off.
You should adjust feeding as necessary for animals that are too fat or too thin. You will find more information in the DEFRA booklet "Condition scoring of pigs" (see the appendix).
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26. Lameness in any animal is usually a sign that they are in pain. Lameness in pigs is a sign of ill health and discomfort. It clearly affects an animal's welfare, as well as their performance and production. If a significant percentage of your pigs have severe lameness, this is a sign of disease or poor overall welfare standards within the herd. In these circumstances, you should seek urgent veterinary advice. You can find more information in DEFRA's booklet "Lameness in pigs" (see the appendix).
27. If lame pigs do not respond to treatment, you need to call a veterinary surgeon immediately. Lameness can have a number of causes and early and accurate diagnosis of the specific type of lameness affecting the herd will enable you to take rapid and appropriate action.
28. If a lame animal does not respond to the veterinary surgeon's treatment, you should have it culled rather than leave it to suffer. Lame animals cannot be transported without causing them more pain, you should therefore slaughter them on the farm (see paragraphs 36 - 37). Also, you must not transport any pig that cannot stand up unaided or cannot bear their weight on all four legs when standing.
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29. You should control diseases caused by external parasites - especially where the animal's skin is irritated and it is rubbing the area - with the appropriate parasiticides. You should treat your animals for parasites in accordance with veterinary advice.
30. You should control internal parasites by using effective anthelmintics or vaccines. You have to base your treatment on the life cycle of the particular parasites you are tackling. You should treat your animals for parasites in accordance with veterinary advice. Organic producers in particular should seek veterinary advice on this aspect of their herd health and welfare plan.
Equipment for Vaccination and Treatment
31. You must make sure that all the equipment you use for vaccinating and treating the animals is in good working order. You should regularly clean and sterilise any equipment you use for injections, to avoid infections and abscesses and, ideally, use disposable needles. Any dangerous objects should be disposed of safely.
32. If you suspect that any animal is suffering from a notifiable disease, you have a legal duty to notify a Divisional Veterinary Manager (DVM) as soon as possible. The most up to date information, including descriptions and pictures of notifiable diseases, is available on DEFRA's website (www.defra.gov.uk).
33. The following are the main notifiable diseases which affect pigs (please note that this is not a complete list):
African swine fever Rabies
Anthrax Swine vesicular disease
Aujeszky's disease Teschen disease
Classical swine fever Vesicular stomatitis
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Sick and Injured Animals
The Welfare of Farmed Animals (Scotland) Regulations 2000 (S.S.I. 2000 No. 442), Schedule 1, paragraph 5 states that:
any animals which appear to be ill or injured:
- must be cared for appropriately without delay; and
- where they do not respond to care, veterinary advice must be obtained as soon as possible.
The Welfare of Farmed Animals (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations 2003 (S.S.I. 2003 No. ????) Schedule 6, Part II, paragraph 4 states that: -
where necessary, sick or injured pigs shall be temporarily isolated in suitable accommodation with dry comfortable bedding.
34. You should take action immediately if any pigs are injured or appear ill or distressed. It is important to exclude the possibility of notifiable diseases. If you are in any doubt about the cause of the ill health or the most effective treatment consult your veterinary surgeon. Likewise, if an animal you have treated does not respond to treatment, seek your veterinary surgeon's advice.
35. Your health and welfare plan should specify a procedure for isolating and caring for sick or injured animals. Hospital pens should be an integral part of any pig unit and should be easily reached so that you can regularly check on the animal. Hospital pens should have feeding facilities and drinking water should be freely available. Particular care is needed where recumbent animals are isolated to ensure that there is easy access to water and feed.
36. If an unfit animal does not respond to treatment, it should be culled or humanely killed on-farm. You should cull any animals suffering from painful and incurable conditions (such as severe lameness), as soon as possible after diagnosis. You should not leave them to become extremely thin and too weak to stand.
The Welfare of Animals (Transport) Order 1997 (S.I. 1997 No. 1480), Articles 4 (1) and 6 respectively, provide that: -
- No person shall transport any animal in a way which causes or is likely to cause injury or unnecessary suffering to that animal.
- No person shall transport any animal unless:
- it is fit for the intended journey; and
- suitable provision has been made for its care during the journey and on arrival at the place of destination.
For these purposes an animal shall not be considered fit for its intended journey if it is ill, injured, infirm or fatigued, unless it is only slightly ill, injured, infirm or fatigued and the intended journey is not likely to cause it unnecessary suffering, likely to give birth during transport, has given birth during the previous 48 hours or is a new born animal in which the navel has not completely healed.
Notwithstanding the above, any animal may be transported to the nearest available place for veterinary treatment or diagnosis, or to the nearest available place of slaughter, if the animal is not likely to be subject to unnecessary suffering by reason of its unfitness. However, an animal so transported may not be dragged or pushed by any means, or lifted by a mechanical device, unless this is done in the presence and under the supervision of a veterinary surgeon who is arranging for it to be transported with all practicable speed to a place for veterinary treatment.
37. You can only transport an unfit animal if you are taking it to a veterinary surgeon for treatment or diagnosis, or to the nearest available place of slaughter - and then, only provided they are not likely to be subject to unnecessary suffering during the journey by reason of their unfitness. More information can be found in DEFRA's booklet, "Guidance on the transport of casualty farm animals" (see the appendix).
38. In an emergency, you may have to slaughter an animal immediately to prevent it's suffering. In such cases, you should destroy the animal humanely and, where possible, it should be done by someone experienced and/or trained both in slaughter methods and use of the equipment.
It is a general offence under the Welfare of Animals (Slaughter or Killing) Regulations 1995 (S.I. 1995 No. 731) as amended by the Welfare of Animals (Slaughter or Killing) (Amendment) Regulations 2001 (S.S.I. No. 610), to cause or permit any avoidable excitement, pain or suffering to any animal during slaughter or killing (regulation 4 (1)).
The general offence applies in all cases, but the detailed provisions in respect of the method of slaughter or killing do not apply when an animal has to be killed immediately for emergency reasons (regulation 13 (2)).
39. If you have to slaughter the animals on-farm in a non-emergency situation, you must do so using a permitted method that is in line with current welfare at slaughter legislation (see box below).
The Welfare of Animals (Slaughter or Killing) Regulations 1995 (S.I. 1995 No. 731) as amended by the Welfare of Animals (Slaughter or Killing) (Amendment) Regulations 1999 (S.I. 1999 No. 400) states that when an animal is slaughtered or killed on-farm, this must be done using a permitted method. The animal could be:
- stunned using a captive bolt pistol, concussion stunner or electrical stunner after which it must be followed by bleeding - or pithed - without delay (regulation 14 and Schedules 5 (Part II) and 6). If the animal is stunned and bled, the operation must be carried out by a slaughterman licensed for these operations (Schedule 1), unless the owner is slaughtering an animal for his own consumption; or
- killed by a free bullet (regulation 15 and Schedule 5 Part III).
40. After slaughter, you must dispose of the carcase by a suitable method (see box below). At present, burial or burning is only permitted in very limited circumstances. If you plan to bury the carcase on-farm, you should first check that the local authority allows this under the Animals By-product Order 1999 (S.I. 1999 No. 646). However, from 2003, new EU legislation, the Animal By-products Regulation, will ban the on-farm burial of animal carcases, other than in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland.
The Animal By-Products Order 1999 (S.I. 1999 No. 646), Article 5, requires that fallen stock are disposed of by:
- despatch to a knackers yard, hunt kennel or similar premises;
- rendering; or
- in certain circumstances, burial in such a way that carnivorous animals cannot gain access to the carcass, or burning.
This provision applies to the disposal of stillborn piglets and foetuses, as well as to older pigs.
The Dogs Acts 1906-28 include provisions making it an offence for a person knowingly to permit a carcass to remain unburied in a place to which dogs could gain access.Back to contents
The Welfare of Farmed Animals (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations 2003 (S.S.I. 2003 No. ????), Schedule 6, Part II, paragraph 6 states that:
(1) A pig shall be free to turn round without difficulty at all times.
(2) The accommodation used for pigs shall be constructed in such a way as to allow each pig to -
- stand up, lie down and rest without difficulty;
- have a clean, comfortable and adequately drained place in which it can rest;
- see other pigs, unless the pig is isolated for veterinary reasons;
- maintain a comfortable temperature;
- have enough space to allow all the animals to lie down at the same time.
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41. You should seek appropriate welfare advice when new buildings are to be constructed or existing buildings modified. Some specialised buildings use complex mechanical and electrical equipment which require additional technical and management skills to ensure that husbandry and welfare requirements are met.
The Welfare of Farmed Animals (Scotland) Regulations 2000 (S.S.I. 2000 No. 442), Schedule 1, paragraphs 11 and 12 state that:
- materials used for the construction of accommodation, and, in particular for the construction of pens, cages, stalls and equipment with which animals may come into contact, must not be harmful to them and must be capable of being thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.
- accommodation and fittings for securing animals shall be constructed and maintained so that there are no sharp edges or protrusions likely to cause injury to them.
42. The internal surfaces of housing and pens should be made of materials that you can easily clean and disinfect regularly, and easily replace when necessary.
43. The internal surfaces of housing or pens should not be painted or treated with wood preservatives whilst the animals are present. Pigs should not be returned to painted or treated pens and housing until the surfaces are completely dry. There is a risk of lead poisoning from old paintwork, especially if you use second-hand building materials.
The Welfare of Farmed Animals (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations 2003 (S.S.I. 2003 No. ????), Schedule 6, Part II, paragraphs 13 and 14 state that:
Where pigs are kept in a building, floors shall -
- be smooth but not slippery so as to prevent injury to the pigs;
- be so designed, constructed and maintained as not to cause injury or suffering to pigs standing or lying on them;
- be suitable for the size and weight of the pigs; and
- where no litter is provided, form a rigid, even and stable surface.
When concrete slatted floors are used for pigs kept in groups, the maximum width of the openings must be:
- 11 mm for piglets;
- 14 mm for weaners;
- 18 mm for rearing pigs;
- 20 mm for gilts after service and sows.
The minimum slat width must be:
- 50 mm for piglets and weaners; and
(f) 80 mm for rearing pigs, gilts after service and sows.
44. Good floor design and adequate maintenance is essential. Poorly constructed floors, slats that are not properly matched to the weight/size of pig and surfaces that are worn and/or damaged, can cause injury to the feet and legs of pigs. Excessive gaps should be avoided as they can trap the feet/claws and may cause physical damage. Damaged floors must be repaired immediately.
The Welfare of Farmed Animals (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations 2003 (S.S.I. 2003 No. ????), Schedule 6, Part II, paragraph 12 requires:
Where bedding is provided, this must be clean, dry and not harmful to the pigs.
45. The lying area should always be kept dry and pen floors, including the dunging area, should be drained effectively. Where bedding is provided, this must be clean and dry, regularly topped up or changed, and not detrimental to the health of the pigs.Back to contents
Ventilation and Temperature
The Welfare of Farmed Animals (Scotland) Regulations 2000 (S.S.I. 2000 No. 442), Schedule 1, paragraph 13 states that:
- air circulation, dust levels, temperature, relative humidity and gas concentrations shall be kept within limits which are not harmful to the animals.
46. All new buildings should be designed with the animals' comfort in mind, and with the aim of preventing respiratory diseases. The buildings should provide enough ventilation throughout the year for the type, size and number of stock to be housed in them. In addition to meeting the ventilation requirements, the system should be designed to avoid draughts affecting the pigs' living space.
47. Effective ventilation is essential to the well-being of the stock as it provides fresh air, removes noxious gases and aids in controlling temperature. Excessive heat loss should be prevented either by the structural insulation of the external walls, roof and the floor in the lying area, or by the provision of adequate bedding. Heat gain to buildings in hot conditions will be minimised by the insulation in the walls and roof.
48. Pigs have a very limited ability to sweat and are acutely susceptible to heat stress. Possible cooling methods including blowing air over the pigs, providing water spray/misting systems or simply wetting floors with a hosepipe, can be used to ensure that pigs in buildings do not become overheated in hot weather. There should always be some dry lying area available as a matter of choice so that the pigs can move away from the cooler conditions.
49. Liveweight, group size, floor type, air speed and feed intake markedly affect temperature requirements and you must take these factors into account when determining the minimum temperature appropriate in each case. Slatted floors and low feed levels generally increase temperature requirements whilst straw bedding, high feed levels and higher body weights decrease requirements. For most circumstances, an appropriate temperature can be found within the range given below:
Category of Pig
15 - 20
59 - 68
Suckling pigs in creeps
25 - 30
77 - 84
Weaned pigs (3 - 4 weeks)
27 - 32
81 - 90
Later weaned pigs
24 - 29
75 - 84
Finishing pigs (porkers)
15 - 21
59 - 70
Finishing pigs (baconers)
13 - 18
55 - 64
Finishing pigs (heavy hogs)
10 - 15
50 - 59
50. You should avoid wide or abrupt fluctuations in temperature in housing systems within any 24-hour period. Wide fluctuations in the daily temperature regime can create stress that can trigger outbreaks of vice, such as tail biting, or disease such as pneumonia. You should maintain a higher than normal level of vigilance at these times.
51. When pigs are moved to new accommodation the possibility of cold stress occurring as a result of sudden changes in the thermal environment can be reduced by the provision of bedding, such as straw, or by preheating the building.
52. When you are removing slurry from under slats, you must take special care to avoid fouling the air with dangerous gases (such as ammonia), which can kill both humans and animals. Buildings should be well ventilated during this procedure.
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Lighting and Noise Levels
The Welfare of Farmed Animals (Scotland) Regulations 2000 (S.S.I. 2000 No. 442), Schedule 1, paragraph 3 states that:
- where animals are kept in a building, adequate lighting (whether fixed or portable) must be available to enable them to be thoroughly inspected at any time.
The Welfare of Farmed Animals (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations 2003 (S.S.I. 2003 No. ????), Schedule 6, Part II, paragraphs 9 and 19 state that:
Where pigs are kept in an artificially lit building then lighting with an intensity of at least 40 lux shall be provided for a minimum period of 8 hours per day subject to Schedule1 paragraph 16 of these regulations.
Pigs shall not be exposed to constant or sudden noise. Noise levels above 85dBA shall be avoided in that part of any building where pigs are kept.
53. You should have enough fixed or portable lighting available at any time if you need to inspect any animals, for example, during farrowing.
54. The siting of machinery such as feed milling units should be appropriate to minimise the noise impact on housed stock. Any bell or buzzer which is likely to occur erratically, e.g. a visitor to the site, should be sufficiently loud to attract human attention but without causing undue alarm to the stock.Back to contents
Automated and Mechanical Equipment
The Welfare of Farmed Animals (Scotland) Regulations 2000 (S.S.I. 2000 No. 442), Schedule 1, paragraphs 18 - 21, state that:
- All automated or mechanical equipment essential for the health and well being of the animals must be inspected at least once a day to check there is no defect in it.
- Any defect in automated or mechanical equipment of the type referred to in the paragraph above is discovered, it must be rectified immediately, or if that is impossible, appropriate steps must be taken to safeguard the health and well-being of the animals pending the rectification of such defects including the use of alternative methods of feeding and watering and methods of providing and maintaining a satisfactory environment.
- Where the health and well-being of the animals is dependent on an artificial ventilation system -
- provision must be made for an appropriate back-up system to guarantee sufficient air renewal to preserve the health and well-being of the animals in the event of failure of the system; and
- an alarm system must be provided to give warning of any failure of the system (which will operate even if the principal electricity supply to it has failed).
- The back-up system must be thoroughly inspected and the alarm system shall each be tested at least once every seven days in order to check that there is no defect in the system and, if any defect is found (whether when the system is inspected or tested in accordance with this paragraph or at any other time) it must be rectified immediately.
55. All mains electrical equipment should be properly earthed, safeguarded from rodents and out of the pigs' reach.
56. All equipment, including feed hoppers, drinkers, ventilating fans, heating and lighting units, fire extinguishers and alarm systems, must be cleaned and inspected regularly and kept in good working order.
57. All automatic equipment used in intensive systems must be thoroughly inspected by the stock-keeper, or other competent person, not less than once each day to check that there are no defects. Any defect must be rectified immediately.
Fire and Other Emergency Precautions
58. There should be plans in place to deal with emergencies at your farm, such as fire, flood or disruption of supplies. The owner should make sure that all the staff are familiar with the appropriate emergency action. You will find more information in the DEFRA booklets, "Emergencies on livestock farms" and "Farm fires: advice on farm animal welfare" (see the appendix).
59. It is important that you get advice about design when you are building or modifying a building. You need to be able to release and evacuate livestock quickly if there is an emergency. You should consider installing fire alarms that can be heard and responded to at any time of day or night.
60. You can get expert advice on all fire precautions from fire prevention officers at your local fire brigade and from the Fire Prevention Association.
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Feed, Water and Other Substances
The Welfare of Farmed Animals (Scotland) Regulations 2000 (S.S.I. 2000 No. 442), Schedule 1, paragraphs 22 - 23 state that:
- Animals must be fed a wholesome diet which is appropriate to their age and species and which is fed to them in sufficient quantity to maintain them in good health and to satisfy their nutritional needs and to promote a positive state of well-being.
- Animals must not be provided with food or liquid in a manner, nor shall such food or liquid contain any substance, which may cause them unnecessary suffering or injury.
The Welfare of Farmed Animals (Scotland) Regulations 2000 (S.S.I. 2000 No. 442), Schedule 1, paragraph 26 states that:
- Feeding and watering equipment must be designed, constructed, placed and maintained so that contamination of food and water and the harmful effects of competition between animals are minimised.
The Welfare of Farmed Animals (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations 2003 (S.S.I. 2003 No. ????) Schedule 6, Part II, paragraph 15 states that:
(1) All pigs must be fed at least once a day.
(2) Where pigs are housed in a group and do not have continuous access to feed, or are not fed by an automatic feeding system feeding the animals individually, each pig must have access to the food at the same time as the others in the feeding group.
61. All pigs need a balanced daily diet to maintain full health and vigour. You should plan any changes in the diet and introduce them gradually.
62. Animals that have been isolated for treatment must have plenty of water available. Unless a veterinary surgeon tells you otherwise, you must give the animal its normal feed.
63. When introducing pigs to unaccustomed housing, you should make sure that the animals are able to find the feed and water points.
64. Where there is unrestricted access to feed at all times (ad-libitum feeding), the following guidelines for trough space per pig apply:
WEIGHT OF PIG (KG)
TROUGH SPACE (CMS)
Where pigs are fed on a rationed feed level to control intake, you should ensure that adequate trough space is provided to ensure that all pigs can receive their allocation. The following guidelines for trough space per pig apply:
WEIGHT OF PIG (KG)
TROUGH SPACE (CMS)
65. Good hygiene is necessary for storage and feeding systems as moulds can develop in stale feed which can have a detrimental effect on pigs.
The Welfare of Farmed Animals (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations 2003 (S.S.I. 2003 No. ????), Schedule 6, Part II, paragraph 16 states that:
All pigs over two weeks of age must have permanent access to a sufficient quantity of fresh drinking water.
66. There are several factors you should take into consideration when looking at the provision of water to pigs:
- the total volume available;
- the flow rate (pigs will not spend a long time taking water);
- the method of provision e.g. the type of drinker; and
- its accessibility to all stock.
The following is a guide to minimum daily water requirements for various weights of pig:
Weight of pig (kg)
Daily requirement (litres)
Minimum flow rate through nipple drinkers (litres/min)
1.0 - 1.5
Up to 20 kgs
1.5 - 2.0
0.5 - 1.0
20 kgs - 40 kgs
2.0 - 5.0
1.0 - 1.5
Finishing pigs up to 100 kgs
5.0 - 6.0
1.0 - 1.5
Sows and gilts - pre-service and in-pig
5.0 - 8.0
Sows and gilts - in lactation
15 - 30
5.0 - 8.0
67. Waste water and excessive flow rates can be detrimental, particularly for sows in farrowing accommodation and very young pigs.
68. You should carefully consider the height at which water nipples and bowls are placed. All pigs must be able to access the drinking point so this might require several different drinkers at various heights when groups of pigs of a range of weights are housed together or when pigs are housed in a pen for a long period.
69. Where nipple drinkers are used, a drinking point should be available for each ten pigs on rationed feeding. On unrestricted feeding, one nipple drinker should provide adequate supply for 15 pigs given sufficient flow rates. Where trough systems are used, the following guidelines should be applied:
WEIGHT OF PIG (KG)
TROUGH SPACE PER HEAD (CM)
Up to 15
15 - 35
70. If you use a wet feeding system, pigs must have access to a separate fresh water supply.
71. Feed and water should not be completely withdrawn from sows which are being dried off.
The Welfare of Farmed Animals (Scotland) Regulations 2000 (S.S.I. 2000 No. 442), Schedule 1, paragraph 27 states that:
- Only substances given for therapeutic or prophylactic purposes or for the purpose of zootechnical treatment shall be administered to animals unless it has been demonstrated by scientific studies of animal welfare or established experience that the effect of that substance is not detrimental to the health or welfare of the animals.
The Welfare of Farmed Animals (Scotland) Regulations 2000 (S.S.I. 2000 No. 442), Schedule 1, paragraph 17 states that:
- Animals not kept in buildings must, where necessary and possible, be given protection from adverse weather conditions, predators and risks to their health and, at all times, have access to a well-drained lying area.
The Welfare of Farmed Animals (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations 2003 (S.S.I. 2003 No. ????), Schedule 6, Part II, paragraph 11 states that:
- Housing, pens, equipment and utensils used for pigs must be properly cleaned and disinfected as necessary to prevent cross-infection and the build-up of disease-carrying organisms.
- Faeces, urine and uneaten or spilt food must be removed as often as necessary to minimise smell and avoid attracting flies or rodents.
72. All buildings, fields and paddocks should be kept clear of debris, such as wire, plastic and sharp objects, that could injure the pigs or rip out their ear tags and damage their ears.
73. You should remove all pigs from areas that are in imminent danger of flooding.
74. Permanent marking of pigs by, for example, ear or body tattooing or ear tagging, should be carried out only by a skilled and competent operator using properly maintained instruments and under hygienic conditions. Ear tags should be suitable for use in pigs. Slapmarking is an acceptable method where identification is required immediately prior to transporting the pigs to slaughter. Where, for herd management purposes, ear marking is by notching or punching, you should use proprietary equipment.
75. When carrying out these procedures, you must properly restrain the animals so that they cannot move their heads at the last minute. Take care to position and insert tags correctly, avoiding main blood vessels and ridges of cartilage. Remember to allow for growth by leaving a suitable gap under the tag where it folds over the ear.
76. If you are using aerosols or paints for temporary marking, make sure only non-toxic substances are used.
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The Welfare of Farmed Animals (Scotland) Regulations 2000 (S.S.I. 2000 No. 442), Schedule 1, paragraph 7 states that:
A record shall be maintained of -
(a) any medicinal treatment given to animals; and
(b) the number of mortalities found on each inspection of animals carried out in accordance with any of the following provisions.
Schedule 1, paragraph 8 states that:
- The record referred to in paragraph 7 must be retained for a period of at least three years from the date on which the medicinal treatment was given, or the date of the inspection, as the case may be, and must be made available to an authorised person when carrying out an inspection or when otherwise requested by such person.
77. Only authorised veterinary medicinal products should be used. You must keep full records of all medicines used, including where it was bought. You must also keep records for at least three years of:
- the date you treated the animals;
- how much medicine you used; and
- which animal or group of animals you treated.
You will find more information in the Code of Practice on responsible use of animal medicines on the farm (see the appendix).
78. As part of your health and welfare plan, you should keep records of all cases of lameness and disorders, such as mastitis and poor milk production, and the relevant treatment you gave, to help with your herd and individual animal management.
The Welfare of Farmed Animals (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations 2003 (S.S.I. 2003 No. ????), Schedule 6, Part II, paragraphs 22 and 23 state that:
Male pigs may be castrated provided the means employed do not involve tearing of tissues.
If castration is carried out after the seventh day of life, it shall only be performed under anaesthetic and additional prolonged analgesia by a veterinary surgeon.
79. Stock-keepers should consider carefully whether castration is necessary. Castration is a mutilation and should be avoided wherever possible. If it cannot be avoided, it must be carried out in accordance with the law by a veterinary surgeon or by a competent, trained operator.
The Welfare of Farmed Animals (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations 2003 (S.S.I. 2003 No. ????), Schedule 6, Part II, paragraphs 21 and 23 state that:
The following procedures shall not be permitted routinely but only where there is evidence that injuries to sows' teats or to other pigs' ears or tails have occurred:
(b) docking of a part of the tail
but no tail docking may be carried out unless other measures to improve environmental conditions or management systems have been taken in order to prevent tail biting or other vices.
If docking of tails is carried out after the seventh day of life it shall only be performed under anaesthetic and additional prolonged analgesia by a veterinary surgeon.
80. Tail biting and other vices, such as ear and flank biting, are associated with some form of stress. They can be triggered by a wide range or combination of factors, including: overstocking, feed deficiencies, incorrect temperature levels, fluctuating temperature levels, draughts, and lack of environmental enrichment. Changes in external weather conditions can also sometimes trigger an outbreak.
81. If tail biting does occur, it can spread quickly through the pen and the degree of injury increases very quickly. Stock-keepers must ensure that affected pigs are removed to a hospital pen and treated without delay. If possible, you should try to identify the instigator and remove the animal to a separate pen.
82. Routine tail docking is not permitted. Tail docking is only permitted as a last resort after improvements to the pigs' environment and management have proved ineffectual. Where it is necessary to tail dock, it must be carried out in accordance with the law by a veterinary surgeon or by a competent, trained operator. All equipment used must be cleaned and disinfected between pigs.
83. As part of your herd health and welfare plan, you must have a strategy for dealing with outbreaks of vice such as tail biting. Although much has been learnt from research and practical on-farm experience, it is not possible to produce a definitive solution for all cases, as tail biting is usually the result of a combination of factors. A step-by-step approach is therefore recommended to identify the particular cause of an outbreak on your unit and to find the appropriate solution to the problem.
note the position of pens and numbers of pigs affected, check records of previous incidents.
this could include lack of environmental enrichment, draughts, temperature fluctuations, overstocking, competition at feeding, excessive light levels, elevated dust/noxious gas levels etc. Different causes may be found in different pens on the same unit.
- Prioritise management changes
management changes should be applied one, but no more than two, at a time and sufficient time should be allowed for any effects to occur. Different solutions may be needed for different pens on the same unit. You should seek veterinary advice if, having made changes, the problem remains, to confirm that tail docking is the only remaining option.
The Welfare of Farmed Animals (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations 2003 (S.S.I. 2003 No. ????), Schedule 6, Part II, paragraph 21 states that:
The following procedures shall not be permitted routinely but only where there is evidence that injuries to sows' teats or to other pigs' ears or tails have occurred:
(a) uniform reduction of corner teeth of piglets by grinding or clipping not later than the seventh day of life of the piglets leaving an intact smooth surface;
but no tooth reduction may be carried out unless other measures to improve environmental conditions or management systems have been taken in order to prevent tail biting or other vices.
84. Routine clipping or grinding of teeth is not permitted. Tooth reduction to the upper and lower "eye" or canine teeth of piglets may be carried out as a last resort, in accordance with the law, by a veterinary surgeon or a competent, trained operator. This may only be carried out if improvements to the management and environmental conditions have proved ineffective.
85. If it is necessary to clip or grind piglets' teeth, suitable sharp, clean clippers or a proprietary grinder should be used. All equipment used should be cleaned and disinfected between pigs. Teeth grinders are recommended as there is a reduced risk of shattering the teeth.
The Welfare of Farmed Animals (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations 2003 (S.S.I. 2003 No. ????), Schedule 6, Part II, paragraph 17 states that:
All pigs must have permanent access to a sufficient quantity of material such as straw, hay, wood, sawdust, mushroom compost, peat or a mixture of such, to enable proper investigation and manipulation activities.
86. Straw is recommended as the best material for environmental enrichment as it can satisfy many of the pigs' behavioural and physical needs: it provides a fibrous material which the pig can eat; the pig is able to root in and play with long straw; and, when used as bedding, straw can provide the pig with physical and thermal comfort.
87. Research and practical experience have shown that objects, such as chains and footballs, do not satisfy the pigs' behavioural needs and quickly lose their novelty factor. The long-term use of such items is not, therefore, recommended. Objects should only be used in conjunction with materials, such as those listed in the box above, unless they can demonstrate that they allow the pigs to carry out their proper investigation and manipulation activities.
88. All boars should have good and safe service conditions. Slatted floors and slippery conditions underfoot are not suitable for mating animals. As part of your health and welfare plan, you should discuss with the herd's veterinary surgeon how to avoid injury to boars and sows through excessive mating activity.
Artificial Insemination, Vasectomy and Electro-ejaculation
The Welfare of Farmed Animals (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations 2003 (S.S.I. 2003 No. ????), Schedule 6, Part II, paragraph 8 (3) lists certain exemptions from the requirement that a pig shall be free to turn round without difficulty at all times, including:
(b) for the purpose of service, artificial insemination or collection of semen;
provided that the period during which it is so kept is not longer than necessary for that purpose.
89. You should keep the sows in their groups until insemination, at which time they can be moved to an appropriate stall or pen and inseminated. Sows should be allowed time to settle down in the stall or pen, and then exposed to a boar in order to encourage the standing reflex before artificial insemination takes place.
90. Sows should be left undisturbed, to encourage uterine contractions, for up to thirty minutes after artificial insemination (and natural service), but they should then rejoin their group in order to minimise bullying within the group hierarchy.
91. It is recommended that semen collection and artificial insemination should only be carried out by a veterinary surgeon or by a trained, competent and experienced operator. Vasectomy or electro-ejaculation may only be carried out by a veterinary surgeon.
The Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966, as amended by the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 (Schedule 3 Amendment) Order 1988 (S.I. 1988 No. 526) prohibits the performance of a vasectomy or the carrying out of electro-ejaculation by anyone other than a veterinary surgeon.
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SECTION 2 - SPECIFIC RECOMMENDATIONS
Farrowing sows and piglets
The Welfare of Farmed Animals (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations 2003 (S.S.I. 2003 No. ????), Schedule 6, Part IV, paragraphs 31 to 36 state:
Pregnant gilts and sows shall, where necessary, be treated against external and internal parasites.
If they are placed in farrowing crates, pregnant sows and gilts shall be thoroughly cleaned.
In the week before the expected farrowing time sows and gilts must be given suitable nesting material in sufficient quantity unless it is not technically feasible for the slurry system used.
During farrowing, an unobstructed area behind the sow or gilt shall be available for the ease of natural or assisted farrowing.
Farrowing pens where sows are kept loose must have some means of protecting the piglets, such as farrowing rails.
In the week before the expected farrowing time and during farrowing, sows and gilts may be kept out of the sight of other pigs.
92. The feeding of sows and gilts should be managed so that they are in a suitable body condition at the time of farrowing. A target score of 3.5 - 4 should be aimed at just prior to farrowing. The feeding regime should then be geared to minimising any loss in body condition during lactation.
93. In the week before the expected farrowing time, nesting material should be provided, whenever possible, to satisfy the sow's need to nest build and therefore minimise stress.
94. The environmental requirements of the sow and litter are considerably different. In an environmentally controlled farrowing house a heated creep area - up to 32°C - should be provided for the piglets. This can be by artificial heating, for example, overhead infra-red lamps, a heat pad or underfloor heating or alternatively by providing a well-bedded lying area. The sow, however, has different environmental requirements. The temperature in the farrowing room as a whole should be around 18°C - 20°C. High temperatures for the sow can impair feed intake and her milking ability.
95. Where overhead lamps/heaters are used they should be securely fixed and should be protected from interference by the sow or piglets.
96. Stock-keepers should be experienced and competent in the techniques of farrowing and should pay particular attention to hygiene, especially at assisted farrowings. Mechanical farrowing aids should only be used by a trained, competent operator.
The Welfare of Farmed Animals (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations 2003 (S.S.I. 2003 No. ????), Schedule 6, Part V, paragraphs 44 to 46 and paragraphs 48 to 49 state:
If necessary, piglets shall be provided with a source of heat and a solid, dry and comfortable lying area away from the sow where all of them can rest at the same time.
A part of the total floor where the piglets are and which is large enough to allow the animals to rest together at the same time, must be solid or covered with a mat or be littered with straw or any other suitable material.
Where a farrowing crate is used the piglets must have sufficient space to be able to be suckled without difficulty.
Piglets shall not be weaned from the sow at an age of less than 28 days unless the welfare or health of the dam or piglets would otherwise be adversely affected.
Piglets may be weaned up to seven days earlier if they are moved into specialised housings which are emptied and thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before the introduction of a new group and which are separated from housings where other pigs are kept.
97. It is particularly important that you watch piglets carefully for signs of diarrhoea or respiratory disease, such as coughing or rapid or laboured breathing, both of which can spread rapidly. If the piglets do not respond to treatment promptly or properly, you should seek veterinary advice.
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Weaners and rearing pigs
The Welfare of Farmed Animals (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations 2003 (S.S.I. 2003 No. ????), Schedule 6, Part VI, paragraph 54 states:
The unobstructed floor area available to each weaner or rearing pig reared in a group shall be at least -
- 0.15 square metres for each pig where the average weight of the pigs in the group is 10 kg or less;
- 0.20 square metres for each pig where the average weight of the pigs in the group is more than 10 kg but less than or equal to 20 kg;
- 0.30 square metres for each pig where the average weight of the pigs in the group is more than 20 kg but less than or equal to 30 kg;
- 0.40 square metres for each pig where the average weight of the pigs in the group is more than 30 kg but less than or equal to 50 kg;
- 0.55 square metres for each pig where the average weight of the pigs in the group is more than 50 kg but less than or equal to 85 kg;
- 0.65 square metres for each pig where the average weight of the pigs in the group is more than 85 kg but less than or equal to 110 kg;
- 1.00 square metre for each pig where the average weight of the pigs in the group is more than 110 kg.
98. The total floor space should be adequate for sleeping, feeding and exercising. The lying area, excluding the dunging and exercise areas, should be of sufficient size to allow all the pigs to lie down on their sides at the same time.
The Welfare of Farmed Animals (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations 2003 (S.I. 2003 No. ????), Schedule 6, Part VI, paragraphs 50 to 53 state:
Pigs shall be placed in groups as soon as possible after weaning. They shall be kept in stable groups with as little mixing as possible.
If pigs unfamiliar with one another have to be mixed, this should be done at as young an age as possible, preferably before or up to one week after weaning. When pigs are mixed they shall be provided with adequate opportunities to escape and hide from other pigs.
The use of tranquillising medication in order to facilitate mixing shall be limited to exceptional conditions and only after consultation with a veterinary surgeon.
When signs of severe fighting appear, the causes shall be immediately investigated and appropriate measures shall be taken.
99. Your herd health and welfare plan should include a strategy for managing mixing and establishing groups of pigs. Plenty of space, sufficient environmental enrichment and using shower sprays/sprinklers can all help to minimise aggression at mixing.
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Dry sows and gilts
The Welfare of Farmed Animals (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations 2003 (S.I. 2003 No. ????), Schedule 6, Part IV, paragraphs 37 to 43 state:
Sows and gilts shall be kept in groups except during the period between seven days before the predicted day of farrowing and the day on which the weaning of piglets (including any piglets fostered) is complete.
The pen where the group is kept must have sides greater than 2.8m in length, except where there are less than 6 individuals in the group, when the sides of the pen must be no less than 2.4m in length.
The total unobstructed floor area available to each gilt after service and to each sow when gilts and/or sows are kept in groups must be at least 1.64 m 2 and 2.25 m 2 respectively. When these animals are kept in groups of less than 6 individuals the unobstructed floor area must be increased by 10%. When these animals are kept in groups of 40 or more individuals the unobstructed floor area may be decreased by 10%.
For gilts after service and pregnant sows a part of the area required in paragraph 38 equal to at least 0.95 m 2 per gilt and 1.3 m 2 per sow must be of continuous solid floor of which a maximum of 15% is reserved for drainage openings.
Sows and gilts kept on holdings of fewer than 10 sows may be kept in individually provided that their accommodation complies with the requirements of paragraphs 7 and 8 of Part II of this Schedule.
In addition to the requirements of paragraph 15 of Part II of this Schedule, sows and gilts must be fed using a system which ensures that each individual can obtain sufficient food even when competitors for the food are present.
All dry pregnant sows and gilts must be given a sufficient quantity of bulky or high fibre food as well as high energy food to satisfy their hunger and need to chew.
100. Innate aggressiveness can present a severe problem where sows and gilts are kept in groups. Much depends on the temperament of individual animals. First parity sows and sows that have lost body condition should be managed as separate groups. Stock-keepers should ensure that persistent bullying, which could lead to severe injury or deprivation of food, does not take place. Separate penning may be required for affected animals if persistent bullying occurs.
101. Feeding facilities in which animals can be fed individually and thereafter released are recommended. However, if sows are fed using a system that does not include some form of protection during feeding, such as floor feeding, then feed must be distributed widely and in such a way to ensure that all members of the group can obtain their allocation.
102. Breeding sows and gilts should be fed simultaneously wherever possible to avoid undue excitement. Some feeding systems have been designed to feed animals sequentially without interference from pen-mates.
103. Stock-keepers need to pay special attention to the proper functioning of such equipment and that all members of the group can obtain their allocation.
104. The provision of bedding in loose housing systems for sows and gilts is strongly recommended.
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The Welfare of Farmed Animals (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations 2003 (S.I. 2003 No. ????), Schedule 6, Part III, paragraphs 28 to 30 state that:
Boar pens shall be sited and constructed so as to allow the boar to turn round and to hear, see and smell other pigs, and shall contain clean resting areas.
The lying are shall be dry and comfortable.
- The minimum unobstructed floor area for an adult boar shall be six square metres save as set out in paragraph 30 (b) herein.
- When boar pens are also used for natural service the floor area must be at least 10 m 2 and must be free of any obstacles.
105. Walls between pens should be high enough to prevent boars climbing and/or jumping into adjacent pens. Pens should be sited so that boars can see other pigs. Stock-keepers should not enter boar pens without a pig board and they must be able to escape easily from the pen if the boar becomes aggressive.
106. Boars are generally individually housed and need either plenty of bedding material or a closely controlled environmental temperature. Extremes of temperature can lead to temporary infertility and may affect a boar's willingness or ability to work satisfactorily.
107. In a pen intended for living purposes only, bedding should be provided in the lying area. In a pen intended for mating purposes, the whole floor area should be kept dry or sufficient bedding provided to give adequate grip during service. The use of small quantities of coarse sand on floors will reduce the risk of slipping.
The Welfare of Farmed Animals (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations 2003 (S.I. 2003 No. ????), Schedule 6, Part II paragraph 24 states that:
Boars' tusks may be reduced in length where necessary to prevent injuries to other animals or for safety reasons.
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Pigs kept in outdoor husbandry systems
The Welfare of Farmed Animals (Scotland) Regulations 2000 (S.I. 2000 No. 1870), Schedule 1, paragraph 17 states that:
Animals not kept in buildings shall, where necessary and possible, be given protection from adverse weather conditions, predators and risks to their health and shall, at all times, have access to a well-drained lying area.
108. Sites for outdoor pig enterprises must be chosen carefully. Land prone to flooding, poorly drained sites, stony (especially flinty) soils and sites with heavy soils (especially in areas with high rainfall), are generally unsuitable for outdoor systems. Free-draining soils in low rainfall areas are most suitable.
109. Field stocking densities must reflect the suitability of the site and the system of management. A guideline of 25 sows per hectare overall is reasonable for suitable sites. You may need to reduce stocking densities on less ideal sites or in extreme circumstances during periods of adverse weather. More information can be found in DEFRA's booklet, "Site suitability for outdoor pig farming" (see the appendix).
110. Stock selected for outdoor production must be suitable for outdoor conditions. Most breeding companies provide lines that have been developed for outdoor use.
111. Your herd health and welfare plan should include a strategy for dealing with emergency situations such as, water provision in freezing conditions and feed provision to the site and to the paddocks in snow or severe wet weather.
112. If you and your stock-keepers take proper precautions when you move within the farm or you move animals and equipment, you can greatly reduce the chance of spreading disease (see paragraphs 19 - 24). As stipulated in your herd health and welfare plan, you should have isolation facilities so that you can isolate and test incoming stock for a period when they arrive, before they join the rest of the herd. Incoming replacement stock may also need to be acclimatised to outdoor conditions as they will often have been bred in indoor conditions. It is especially important to provide warm comfortable accommodation for these animals.
113. To prevent the build-up and transfer of disease organisms, arks should be resited between batches of pigs and the straw aftermath should be removed or burned. More information on biosecurity, especially cleansing and disinfection, can be found on DEFRA's website ( www.defra.gov.uk) or in various publications (see the appendix).
114. All arks and huts used for housing outdoor pigs should be liberally provided with bedding and have a warm, draught-free lying area. This is especially important for the sow and litter at farrowing and during the suckling period and for newly weaned pigs.
115. All arks and huts must be properly maintained, especially to ensure that damage through handling does not produce sharp edges that may injure the animals.
116. Arks should be well fixed to the ground, particularly in cold windy conditions and should be sited so that the doorways are away from the prevailing wind.
117. Adequate shelter must be provided to protect the animals from the cold and wet in winter. Wet conditions create greater welfare problems than the cold as moisture is easily carried into the arks on feet and bodies, causing chilling in small pigs, and provides the ideal environment for micro-organisms to flourish.
118. Adequate shelter must also be provided to protect the animals from sunny conditions in summer. Wallows should be provided for breeding stock to allow them to cool themselves and to produce mud which can prevent sunburn. More information can be found in DEFRA's booklet, "Heat stress in pigs" (see the appendix).
Feed and water
119. Food should be distributed widely and evenly to avoid aggression between animals unless an alternative method is used to ensure even consumption.
120. Stock-keepers should carefully monitor the body condition of pigs during extremes of weather and adjust feed provision if necessary.
The Welfare of Farmed Animals (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations 2003 (S.S.I. 2003 No. ????), Schedule 6, Part II, paragraph 16 requires:
All pigs over two weeks of age must have permanent access to a sufficient quantity of fresh drinking water.
121. There should be adequate, well-maintained, access to the water trough appropriate to the number of pigs in the group. Arrangements should be in place to ensure the supply of water to all stock in all weathers. Particular attention is needed at times of freezing conditions.
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122. Electric fencing should be designed, constructed, used and maintained properly, so that when the animals touch them they only feel slight discomfort. All power units for electric fences must be properly earthed to prevent short circuits or electricity being conducted anywhere it should not, for example, gates and water troughs.
123. New breeding stock is unlikely to have been trained to electric fencing. You should have a training paddock with secure fencing, such as pig netting, outside the electric fencing to help the animals see the fencing and to ensure that they cannot escape from the unit.
124. Every effort should be made to protect pigs, particularly young piglets, from predation. Steps such as a predator control programme and possibly fox fencing should be considered.
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Farrowing sows and piglets
125. Farrowing arks should be insulated and have provision for some degree of extra ventilation such as manual flaps. In hot conditions lactating sows may be prompted to leave the ark to seek more comfortable conditions outside, effectively abandoning her litter.
The Welfare of Farmed Animals (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations 2003 (S.S.I. 2003 No. ????), Schedule 6, Part IV, paragraph 35 states that:
Farrowing pens where sows are kept loose must have some means of protecting the piglets, such as farrowing rails.
126. Farrowing arks should be sited on level ground to reduce the risk of overlying. Suitable restrainer boards should be used to prevent very young piglets from straying during the first few weeks after farrowing.
The Welfare of Farmed Animals (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations 2003 (S.S.I. 2003 No. ????), Schedule 6, Part II, paragraph 25 states that:
Nose rings may not be put in animals kept continuously in indoor husbandry systems.
127. Nose ringing is a mutilation and should be avoided wherever possible. It is usually carried out to deter excavation of the paddocks and damage to the cover vegetation through excessive rooting. Nose ringing can reduce the risk of environmental pollution where there is a risk of soil erosion and leaching of nutrients from faeces. Where it is necessary to nose ring pigs, it should only be carried out by a veterinary surgeon or a trained, competent operator. All equipment should be cleaned and disinfected between pigs.
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A. DEFRA publications related to pig welfare
PB number Title
0409 Code of Practice - the welfare of animals in livestock markets
0621 Farm fires: advice on farm animal welfare
1147 Emergencies on livestock farms
1148 Lameness in Pigs
1316 Heat Stress in Pigs - Solving the problem
1387 Guidance on the transport of casualty farm animals
2594 Explanatory guide to the Welfare of Animals (Slaughter or Killing) Regulations 1995
3480 Condition scoring of pigs
3575 Assessment of practical experience in the handling, transport and care of animals: guide to employers
3766 Guidance on the Welfare of Animals (Transport) Order 1997
4444 Site suitability for outdoor pig farming
---- Guidance on the Transport of Animals (Cleansing and Disinfection) (England) (No. 2) Order 2000
---- Better Biosecurity Provides Peace of Mind, Healthy Stock and a More Viable Business
You can get copies of all these publications, free of charge, from:
Telephone orders (for free publications): 0845 955 6000
Telephone enquiries: 0845 955 6000
These publications are updated regularly. For more information on the most current versions and new publications, please contact DEFRA's Animal Welfare Division on: Tel no. 020 7904 6521
B. Legislation related to pig welfare
S.I. number Title
Dogs Acts 1906 - 1928
Protection of Animals (Scotland) Act 1912
Protection of Animals (Anaesthetics) Act 1954
Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966
Agriculture (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1968
S.I. 1974 No. 798 The Docking of Pigs (Use of Anaesthetics) Order 1974
S.I. 1982 No. 1884 Welfare of Livestock (Prohibited Operations) Regulations 1982
S.I. 1990 No. 2627 Welfare of Animals at Markets Order 1990
S.I. 1995 No. 731 Welfare of Animals (Slaughter or Killing) Regulations 1995
S.I. 1997 No. 1480 Welfare of Animals (Transport) Order 1997
S.I. 1998 No. 2537 Welfare of Animals (Staging Points) Order 1998
S.I. 1998 No. 463 The Specified Animal Pathogens Order 1998
S.I. 1999 No. 1622 Welfare of Animals (Transport) (Amendment) Order 1999
S.I. 1999 No. 400 Welfare of Animals (Slaughter or Killing) (Amendment) Regulations 2000
S.I. 1999 No. 646 Animal By-Products Order 1999
S.I. 2000 No. 1870 Welfare of Farmed Animals (Scotland) Regulations 2000
You can get copies of the legislation quoted in this Code from the Stationery Office at:
71 - 73 Lothian Road
Telephone orders: 0870 600 5566
Telephone enquiries: 020 7873 0011
C. Non-DEFRA publications related to pig welfare
Code of practice on the responsible use of animal medicines on the farm (Veterinary Medicines Directorate)
Pig Welfare Advisory Group Series:
No. 1 Introduction of sows into groups
No. 2 Non-straw and low-straw systems for housing dry sows
No. 3 Muck handling for sows
No. 4 Cubicles and free-access stalls
No. 5 Yards and individual feeders
No. 7 Yards or kennels with floor feeding
No. 8 Outdoor sows
No. 9 Electronic sow feeders (ESF)
If you would like any more information or advice about this Code, please contact DEFRA's Animal Welfare Division on: Tel no. 020 7904 6521.
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CODE OF RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE WELFARE OF LIVESTOCK: PIGS
After consultation, this Code, (which consists of paragraphs 1 to 127), has been put before Parliament for authority to issue it under Section 3 of the Agriculture (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1968.
This Section allows "the Ministers" to produce codes of recommendations for the welfare of livestock and to issue such codes once they have been approved in draft by both Houses of Parliament. However, the original definition of "the Ministers" (see Section 50 of the 1968 Act) has been changed to reflect devolution for Scotland and Wales and the creation of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. In England, the powers of "the Ministers" were first transferred to the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food by the Transfer of Functions (Agriculture and Food) Order 1999 (S.I. 1999/3141) and then transferred to the Secretary of State by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Dissolution) Order 2002 (S.I. 2002/794).
In Scotland, the powers of "the Ministers" had previously been transferred to the Scottish Ministers by Section 53 of the Scotland Act 1998 (1998 c.46) and, in Wales, the powers of "the Ministers" had previously been transferred to the National Assembly for Wales by article 2 (a) of the National Assembly for Wales (Transfer of Functions) Order 1999 (S.I. 1999/672).
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