EURCAW-pigs: Practical and scientific support for pig welfare inspectors.

Hans A.M. Spoolder*, Lars Schrader, Marko A.W. Ruis, Jan Tind Sørensen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference abstract for conferenceResearchpeer-review


Competent authorities in EU member states need practical and scientific assistance when carrying out their role as animal welfare inspectors. In 2018 the European Commission officially designated the first EU Reference Centre for Animal Welfare with a focus on pig welfare legislation (EURCAW-Pigs). Enforcement of existing EU legislation, accompanied by practical advice on how animal housing and management can be improved, will support
good welfare. Following discussions with inspectors, eight key areas of welfare concern were chosen. The first one was on tail docking and tail biting. Routine docking of tails is forbidden, but is still practiced on >90% of European pig farms. EURCAW-Pigs provides science based advice on how inspectors can assess tail biting risks and reduce tail biting. It offers a fact file (or ‘dossier’) and document repository on its website, practical information in factsheets
to be used on farms and suggestions for further training. Other prioritised welfare areas include space allowances and heat stress during transport, pre-weaning piglet mortality and the assessment of consciousness during slaughter. Each of these welfare areas are addressed through three lines of activity. Firstly by providing an overview of scientific and practical knowledge, and by identifying gaps which require further study. Secondly by developing ‘animal welfare
indicators’ to support inspections in the field. Thirdly by supporting and promoting training on welfare issues of competent authorities in the different member states. EURCAW-Pigs also offers ‘coordinated assistance’, essentially by meeting inspectors in different regions of Europe and discussing how to achieve and maintain the legally required welfare standard across the EU – and higher if possible! Finally, the EURCAW-Pigs website
provides access to all knowledge developed, and offers a Question & Answer service to officials still struggling with technical pig welfare questions
Original languageDanish
Publication date2021
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Event8th International conference on the assessment of animal welfare at farm and group level - Online
Duration: 16 Aug 202119 Aug 2021
Conference number: 8


Conference8th International conference on the assessment of animal welfare at farm and group level
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