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Improving Health and Welfare in Organic Pig Production

05 February 2016

This handbook from ProPig, a project of Core Organic, provides organic pig farmers with the information they need to keep healthy pigs and to recognise potential symptoms early to avoid suffering of the animals.

Organic pig producers face the major challenge to produce pig meat of high quality and at a moderate price based on high animal health and welfare standards. To meet this challenge, farmers cannot rely on organic housing and production regulations solely, as these do not inevitably result in a good animal health and welfare status of the pigs. 

Rather, animal-friendly and efficient pig production requires the consistent use of all preventive measures in husbandry, hygiene, feeding and management to prevent development of major diseases, injuries or any type of stress. 

Successful pig production furthermore depends on the farmer’s carefulness and attentiveness to detect diseases early and on well-trained and motivated persons working with the pigs. For qualified support it is essential that consulted veterinarians or advisors are versed in organic animal husbandry.

As part of the CoreOrganic II project ProPig researchers and advisors assessed animal health, welfare and environmental impact on 74 organic pig farms across eight European countries and in different housing systems, including outdoor, indoor and partly outdoor systems. Based on these assessments, improvement strategies were developed together with pig farmers and compiled in this handbook. The recommendations are intended to guide farmers and advisors in developing pig
management, housing, and feeding towards optimal animal health and welfare.

How to use this handbook 

This handbook summarises the knowledge of farmers, advisors, researchers and existing text books.

The handbook provides useful information and possible measures to address the main challenges of animal health and welfare in organic pig production:

•Fertility problems


•Respiratory problems


•Other health and welfare problems

Each chapter is divided into subchapters guiding you to different areas, such as feeding, housing, management or treatment.

To view the booklet online, please click here.

To order a hard copy of the handbook or view the handbook in French, German or Czech, please visit: 

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