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Report Predicts Decrease in Piglet Mortality

19 January 2012

DENMARK - A working group has just delivered a progress report on breeding of pigs in Denmark. The report focuses on high piglet mortality in Danish pig herds, where a decline is expected in the coming years.

The group notes that since 2004, when the industry changed the way pigs are bred in Denmark, there has been a fairly significant decrease in piglet mortality in breeding herds, from approximately 22 to 16 per cent.

"There is no doubt that the current mortality of piglets in the production chain is too high, but it is encouraging that there are prospects for improvement. I think the industry, animal welfare organizations and others have the opportunity to provide input and comments on the report, and I have, therefore, sent it out for a hearing. Once I have received contributions, I will discuss the report and the work going forward with the political rapporteurs as well as relevant stakeholders," said Mette Gjerskov, who on Tuesday received the report from Peter Sandoe, who chairs the working group.

Statistics from 2010 show that 24.1 per cent of the Danish piglets in production herds died before weaning. For example, the mortality rate in 2010 was approximately 16 per cent in the breeding and multiplying herds, and it is expected that this decline in the coming years will turn completely or partially in step with the lakes being replaced.

"It is gratifying that piglet mortality has now fallen in breeding and multiplying herds, and that there is reason to believe that the extension will also fall in production herds. However, it is important to keep an eye on developments. Therefore, the working group recommends that the industry in 2015 account for changes in production herds. The group notes that a consequence of larger litters and decreasing mortality is that more piglets are born than the individual sow can fit. This gives rise to welfare challenges. A majority of the working group believes that the solution to these challenges is the provision of legal requirements for the breeding of pigs. Instead, focus should be on the care of the pigs," says Peter Sandoe.

Animal Protection supports the majority's claim, but also believes that there should be a statutory ceiling on the amount of litter a sow can have.

ThePigSite News Desk



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