Photo: Seges

Photo: Seges

20 special regulations ensure even higher welfare standards

Although Denmark meets all EU animal welfare requirements, in many areas it exceeds them. In many focus areas, we exceed the requirements of most EU countries, which means good conditions, healthy and contented pigs. Read more about Denmark’s 20 special requirements here.

All new service units are designed for loose-housed systems and this will apply to all units from 2035. This means that inseminated sows will no longer have to remain in stalls but will be able to move freely among other sows. This is only the case in Denmark, Sweden, Norway and the UK. Danish UK Contract scheme already have had this requirement from 2007.

Read more about the Contract for UK production

1  On its own initiative and as the only country in the world to do so, Denmark has set a target for loose-housed sows in the farrowing unit, i.e. 10 per cent by 2020. The fact is that there are now more loose sows indoors than outdoors.

There are sprinkling systems in all units for pigs above 20 kg in order to enhance the housing environment.

3  Requirements for BOTH rooting and enrichment materials in all housing units. Only enrichment material is required in countries outside Denmark.

4  Enrichment and rooting material must be of natural origin, e.g. straw, wood or other natural material.

Read also: New strategy for Danish pig production

5  As opposed to other EU countries, Denmark does not permit iron chains to be used as enrichment material for pigs to bite into.

6  Local anaesthetic is required when castrating piglets from the end of 2018. The current requirement for pain relief continues. In the rest of the EU, castration can be carried out without local anaesthetic or pain relief.

7  Requirement for a separate area for piglets in the farrowing pen (creep area). They need this in order to be segregated from the sow and to rest without the risk of the sow crushing them. The creep area means that the sow can rest too.

8  Independent third-party control of animal welfare and food safety at all Danish pig farms. In addition to official farm visits, the DANISH system also ensures that specific Danish requirements with regard to animal welfare and food safety are adhered to.

9  Requirement for health advice, including in matters relating to animal welfare. All large pig farms (over 300 sows) must have a Health Advisory System with a veterinarian. This is both to create better animal welfare and to create transparency vis à vis consumers.

10  Together, veterinarians and producers must establish up to three focus areas for animal welfare for a single herd where specific objectives and action plans must be drawn up.

11  Requirement for straw for pregnant sows in their housing unit.

12  Requirement for solid or drained flooring for piglets (50 per cent of the area) and finishers (30 per cent of the area). This is to ensure the pigs have a comfortable resting area. The rest of the EU has no requirements for solid or drained flooring.

13  Fixed requirements for the number of hospital pens for pregnant sows.

14  Requirements for soft lying area and heat source as well as cooling facilities in all hospital pens. There are no specific requirements at EU level regarding the design of a hospital pen.

15  Yellow card for producers whose medicine usage exceeds the stipulated limits.

Read also: Antibiotics: Danish pig production singled out as international role model  

16  The pig industry introduced a voluntary ban on the use of cephalosporines in 2010. These are critically important antibiotics for the treatment of humans. Cephalosporines are still permitted in pig production in the rest of the EU.

17  In addition, Denmark has introduced a ban on the use of colistin and fluoroquinolones in livestock production.

18  Requirement for a maximum of 8 hours transport for sows.

19  More rigorous requirements for the design of pig transport vehicles (mechanical ventilation, access to drinking water, cooling system, GPS equipment). In the EU, the requirements only apply to long journeys. In Denmark, all transport regardless of duration must meet the requirements.

20  In Denmark, veterinarians are not permitted to earn money from prescriptions. Veterinarians are permitted to prescribe and supply medicines in the rest of the EU.

Read our Benchmarking of standard

If you have any questions, please contact Kirsten Vernon Kristiansen, Executive Export & Marketing Manager Sweden and Germany,