Monday, December 2, 2013

Pig code in final stages

The National Farm Animal Care Council is in the final stages of revising an animal welfare code for the hog industry.

The council published proposals in the summer that drew widespread criticism from hog farmers for recommending limited-time use of sow gestation crates. Many of North America’s largest retailers, restaurant chains and foodservice companies have announced deadlines for when they will no longer buy pork that can be traced back to farms that use sow gestation crates.

Florian Possberg, a hog farmer from Saskatchewan, says he thinks the final issues can be resolved at a meeting in January.

Then the code would be written into a final draft and translated and be ready for release in the spring.
It’s been three years in the making and the hot-button issues have been sow gestation crates, housing space for pigs and pain mitigation – eg. requiring anesthetics for castration.

Possberg says the committee has reached agreement on most issues.

The Pig Code Development Committee membership includes hog farmers, swine veterinarians, researchers and government specialists and members of animal welfare organizations.