Second annual MS officials meeting took place in Brussels

  • Subject
    Annual meeting EURCAW-Pigs
  • Target audience
    Policy workers
More info and sources
On October 5 and 6, 2022, EURCAW-Pigs organised a second annual meeting for Competent Authorities and policy workers of EU Member States on pig welfare legislation. The programme for these meetings focus on the topics that the officials want to discuss, and there is ample opportunity to engage in dialogue with colleagues from other Member States as well as pig welfare scientists.

The meeting took place in Brussels and was the first live EURCAW pigs meeting in a long time. In total, 29 delegates from European Member States (MS) were present, representing 21 MS in total. The meeting was also attended by one delegate from DG SANTE and six staff members from EURCAW-Pigs. The meeting started at 13:00 hours on the first day, and finished at 13:00 hours on the second day.

Discussion topics

The delegates participating in this meeting informed EURCAW-Pigs before the meeting which particular topic they wanted to be addressed. The topics could be selected from a list of eight welfare topics that EURCAWPigs is focusing on in its work programme. During the meeting, four of the proposed welfare topics were discussed in detail. Delegates from four different MS were asked to introduce the topic in a short presentation at the start of the meeting on day 1, and present their welfare issues on these topics. Following these short ‘pitches’, the topics were further discussed in round tables.

For each topic, a different EURCAW-Pigs expert was invited to listen to the concerns, questions, personal experiences, and possible solutions added by the delegates. On day 2, each expert addressed the issues raised on day 1. These 'replies' were videorecorded and can be looked back by clicking the links below:

  • Topic 1: Tail docking-sharing experiences - Tail biting is a multi-factorial problem, where different factors can be relevant on different farms. Therefore, there is no ‘one fits all’ solution. Since the aim of the EU is to ban tail docking, CAs are faced with a wide range of problems. What are the issues, what are possible solutions, and how can EURCAW-Pigs support? Expert: Lars Schrader, animal welfare scientist, Friedrich Loeffler Institut (FLI), Germany.
  • Topic 2: Climate control and design of finishing pig accommodation – New challenges in pig housing arise due to climate change, especially in the case of heatwaves and rising energy costs. For example, how to design buildings that will provide good animal welfare, also in hot temperatures. Mainly finishers and lactating sows, as well as in pregnant sows (especially straw bedded), are at risk. What are the animal needs for thermal comfort, what are relevant indicators for heat stress, and can be done to decrease the occurrence of heat stress and to increase thermos-comfort? Expert: Herman Vermeer, pig welfare scientist, Wageningen Livestock Research, The Netherlands.
  • Topic 3: Heat stress during transport of pigs - Heat stress during transport occurs quite easily in pigs, because they have a very low sweating capacity related to elevated temperatures, relatively small lungs, thick subcutaneous adipose tissue layer, large body size and higher energy intake. What are the main causes for heat stress, and what measures can and should be taken? Expert: Isa Kernberger- Fischer, animal welfare scientist, Friedrich Loeffler Institut (FLI), Germany.
  • Topic 4: Pre-weaning piglet welfare – Due to increasing litter size, pre-weaning piglet welfare is challenged by the mortality and poor growth in low birth weight piglets and the limitation of space and suitable enrichment. Being born with a low birth weight increases the risk of death and long term consequences for piglet vigour. What can be done to mitigate the consequences of large litter sizes? Expert: Lene Juul Pedersen, Professor in Animal Welfare and precision livestock farming, Aarhus University, Denmark.

Report of field trips

In addition to the discussion topics, Eimear McLoughlin from EURCAW-Pigs gave a digital presentation on day 1 reporting on field trips with inspectors. The field trips were part of a EURCAW-Pigs funded project set out to identify the training needs of inspectors by examining the challenges they face in the conduct of their work, with a focus on assessing welfare on farm and at slaughter.

    Introphoto: MS Officials meeting 2022 (©EURCAW-Pigs)



    All presentations