Legislation and Activism in
European Pig Production
Mike Sheldon
Pig Producer and
BPEX Board Member
Agenda
•
•
•
•
•
•

A little about me
Legislation
Activism
Market led change
Industry adaptation
Discussion
A little about me
Pig Welfare – British Experience
• The British are regarded as a nation of animal
lovers. The RSPCA was formed in 1824 and...
Exporting our industry
(December census 1997=100)
Index
120
110
100
90
80
70
60
50

19
97
19
98
19
99
20
00
20
01
20
02
20...
Exporting our industry
(December census 1997=100)
Index
120
110
100
90
80
70
60
50

19
97
19
98
19
99
20
00
20
01
20
02
20...
Exporting our industry
(December census 1997=100)
Index
120
110
100
90
80
70
60
50

19
97
19
98
19
99
20
00
20
01
20
02
20...
Pig Welfare – Words Count
• Animals, including farm animals, are formally
recognised as “sentient beings” in fundamental E...
Pig Welfare – Current Legislative
Agenda
• Tethering of gestating sows banned in EU
from 2006
• Conventional cages for lay...
EU egg prices have rocketed since the ban on battery
cages – could the same happen to pig prices?
Mixed picture on compliance with
the ban on sow stalls
• Three Member States already 100%
compliant (UK, Sweden, Luxembour...
Impact on trade patterns
• What will happen in January ’13?
• And in subsequent years?
Scenario 1 (Moderate
Enforcement)
• Farmgate price up >10%
• 2013 production down 5% on 2011
• Recovery (in NW Europe at l...
Scenario 2 (Strict Enforcement)

• Farmgate price up substantially
• 2013 production down 10% on 2011
• Strong recovery in...
Scenario 3 (Major realignment
of trade)
• Rapid increase in sow numbers in NW
Europe (along with decrease in finishing)
• ...
Not just stalls

• Space
• Slats
• Manipulable materials
Space

•
•
•
•

In pig gilt: 1.64m2 (17.7ft2)
Sow: 2.25m2 (24.2ft2)
Up 10% when group size is <6
“Unencumbered space” mean...
Slats
• Minimum solid width
– <30kg: 50mm (c.2.0 inches)
– >30kg: 80mm (c.3.1 inches)
• Maximum slot width
– Piglets: 11mm...
Manipulable Materials

• What campaigners really want is permanent
access to bedding
• Current implementation of rules acc...
Transport
• What’s coming?
• Implications
Pig Welfare – Current Activism

• Castration
• Harling case study
Castration

• UK does not castrate
• Everyone else does
• Indeed German law says you have to
Change ahead of legislation

• Market led?
• Activist victory?
• Industry adaptation?
Harling Case Study
• New activist group “Animal Equality”
originating in Spain
Harling Case Study
• Extreme technique
– Employee filming
– 3 months
– 6 months delay
Harling Case Study
• Publications in Sunday Times
• Media storm
• Dreadful footage
Harling Case Study
• Farmer took his own life
• Farm closed
Resulting Agenda

• How to modify assurance
– Standards
– Audit
• How to help members
– Handle pressure
– Handle trade exc...
Pig Welfare – Forthcoming
Agenda
•
•
•
•

Tail reduction
Teeth clipping/grinding
Farrowing crates
Flooring systems, especi...
Welfare Outcomes

• UK research initiative (BPEX, Royal Vet
College, Bristol University)
• UK implementation (“Real Welfar...
What is Welfare Outcomes?
• Scientifically validated measures of welfare that we can
record by looking at the pig, not the...
The Measures
Sows

Finishers (>50kg only)

Hospital pigs

Hospital pigs

Lameness

Lameness

Thin sows (<BCS 2)
Body marks...
Benchmark Results - Lameness
Tail biting (finishers)
UQ
LQ Med Ave

90%

95%

(any mark)
Summary

•
•
•
•

Legislation
Activism
Market led change
Industry led change
Thank You

www.bpex.org.uk
Mike Sheldon - Lessons Learned From Europe – Regulatory Burdens and Activist Influence
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Lessons Learned From Europe – Regulatory Burdens and Activist Influence - Mike Sheldon, Greenway Farms Limited Managing Director and BPEX Member, from the 2012 Animal Ag Alliance Stakeholders Summit, Real Farmers Real Food, Celebrating Tradition and Technology, May 2-3, Arlington, VA, USA.

More presentations at http://www.trufflemedia.com/agmedia/conference/2012-aaa-real-farmers-real-food

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  • A brief outline of your farm
    A little about your career history
    A brief word about your role on BPEX and what BEX is
    – The statutory “check off” organisation for famers and primary processors with the main activities of R&amp;D, Knowledge Transfer, market information and promotion to customers and consumers
  • The forthcoming stall ban is one contributory factor to declining sow herds. High feed costs are also playing a part, with most producers operating at a loss and some exiting the industry. The effects are already being seen in latest census data, from June, which shows declines in all EU countries except for the Netherlands and UK.
  • Mike Sheldon - Lessons Learned From Europe – Regulatory Burdens and Activist Influence

    1. 1. Legislation and Activism in European Pig Production Mike Sheldon Pig Producer and BPEX Board Member
    2. 2. Agenda • • • • • • A little about me Legislation Activism Market led change Industry adaptation Discussion
    3. 3. A little about me
    4. 4. Pig Welfare – British Experience • The British are regarded as a nation of animal lovers. The RSPCA was formed in 1824 and became a Royal society in 1840 • We have a long history of legislation and farming practice to protect the welfare of the animals in our care • Most recently a unilateral ban in gestation stalls was enacted in the UK in 1999 – against the will of most pig farmers • A cautionary tale
    5. 5. Exporting our industry (December census 1997=100) Index 120 110 100 90 80 70 60 50 19 97 19 98 19 99 20 00 20 01 20 02 20 03 20 04 20 05 20 06 20 07 20 08 20 09 20 10 40 UK
    6. 6. Exporting our industry (December census 1997=100) Index 120 110 100 90 80 70 60 50 19 97 19 98 19 99 20 00 20 01 20 02 20 03 20 04 20 05 20 06 20 07 20 08 20 09 20 10 40 UK EU
    7. 7. Exporting our industry (December census 1997=100) Index 120 110 100 90 80 70 60 50 19 97 19 98 19 99 20 00 20 01 20 02 20 03 20 04 20 05 20 06 20 07 20 08 20 09 20 10 40 UK EU Denmark
    8. 8. Pig Welfare – Words Count • Animals, including farm animals, are formally recognised as “sentient beings” in fundamental EU legislation (Treaty of Lisbon, December 2009) • In short this means that animals are recognised as being capable of feeling things • This has subsequently been interpreted by animal activist groups as animals “have feelings” • The result is that animal activist groups have drawn up a long agenda aimed at changing farming practices or even the elimination of conventional animal agriculture
    9. 9. Pig Welfare – Current Legislative Agenda • Tethering of gestating sows banned in EU from 2006 • Conventional cages for laying hens banned in EU from 2012 • Gestation stalls banned in EU from 2013 (except for 4 weeks after mating) • Limits on duration of journey
    10. 10. EU egg prices have rocketed since the ban on battery cages – could the same happen to pig prices?
    11. 11. Mixed picture on compliance with the ban on sow stalls • Three Member States already 100% compliant (UK, Sweden, Luxembourg) • Twelve others say they will be 100% compliant by January 2013 • Five say they will be at least 90% compliant • Four say they will be 70-90% compliant • Three may still be less than 70% compliant
    12. 12. Impact on trade patterns • What will happen in January ’13? • And in subsequent years?
    13. 13. Scenario 1 (Moderate Enforcement) • Farmgate price up >10% • 2013 production down 5% on 2011 • Recovery (in NW Europe at least) to 2011 levels inside 3 years
    14. 14. Scenario 2 (Strict Enforcement) • Farmgate price up substantially • 2013 production down 10% on 2011 • Strong recovery in NW Europe in sow numbers • Prospect of 3rd country access to EU market
    15. 15. Scenario 3 (Major realignment of trade) • Rapid increase in sow numbers in NW Europe (along with decrease in finishing) • Finishing and slaughter grown by integrators in Eastern Europe • Net result is more efficiency, lower prices, greater competitiveness on world markets
    16. 16. Not just stalls • Space • Slats • Manipulable materials
    17. 17. Space • • • • In pig gilt: 1.64m2 (17.7ft2) Sow: 2.25m2 (24.2ft2) Up 10% when group size is <6 “Unencumbered space” means free access stall may not count
    18. 18. Slats • Minimum solid width – <30kg: 50mm (c.2.0 inches) – >30kg: 80mm (c.3.1 inches) • Maximum slot width – Piglets: 11mm (c.0.4 inches) – Weaners: 14mm (c.0.6 inches) – Finishers: 18mm (c.0.7 inches) – Gilts/sows: 20mm (c.0.8 inches) • Tolerance
    19. 19. Manipulable Materials • What campaigners really want is permanent access to bedding • Current implementation of rules accepts that this is impossible to deliver • Future implementation of rules is reducing wiggle room
    20. 20. Transport • What’s coming? • Implications
    21. 21. Pig Welfare – Current Activism • Castration • Harling case study
    22. 22. Castration • UK does not castrate • Everyone else does • Indeed German law says you have to
    23. 23. Change ahead of legislation • Market led? • Activist victory? • Industry adaptation?
    24. 24. Harling Case Study • New activist group “Animal Equality” originating in Spain
    25. 25. Harling Case Study • Extreme technique – Employee filming – 3 months – 6 months delay
    26. 26. Harling Case Study • Publications in Sunday Times • Media storm • Dreadful footage
    27. 27. Harling Case Study • Farmer took his own life • Farm closed
    28. 28. Resulting Agenda • How to modify assurance – Standards – Audit • How to help members – Handle pressure – Handle trade exclusion
    29. 29. Pig Welfare – Forthcoming Agenda • • • • Tail reduction Teeth clipping/grinding Farrowing crates Flooring systems, especially fully slatted flooring • Welfare outcomes
    30. 30. Welfare Outcomes • UK research initiative (BPEX, Royal Vet College, Bristol University) • UK implementation (“Real Welfare”) • EU agenda (Euro 17 million project)
    31. 31. What is Welfare Outcomes? • Scientifically validated measures of welfare that we can record by looking at the pig, not the pens • Reflects the management of the pigs • Good welfare is achievable whatever housing type is used
    32. 32. The Measures Sows Finishers (>50kg only) Hospital pigs Hospital pigs Lameness Lameness Thin sows (<BCS 2) Body marks Body marks Shoulder lesions Tail lesions Vulva lesions Enrichment use Enrichment use Enrichment use = “outcome” of the enrichment – is the enrichment fit for purpose i.e. being used in preference to other objects & pigs? Measures which accurately reflect routine management, highly unlikely to change on the day of the visit.
    33. 33. Benchmark Results - Lameness
    34. 34. Tail biting (finishers) UQ LQ Med Ave 90% 95% (any mark)
    35. 35. Summary • • • • Legislation Activism Market led change Industry led change
    36. 36. Thank You www.bpex.org.uk

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