DENMARK - Animal welfare groups, pig producers and slaughterhouses in Denmark are joining forces to create a new ‘welfare pig’.
The pig sector said that the price to consumers will lie between that for conventionally produced pork and that from pigs raised in free-range and organic systems.
The Welfare Pig plan was launched at this year’s Pig Congress in Herning, by animal welfare groups, Danish Crown, Tican and the Danish Pig Research.
The welfare standards include provision of straw ad-lib, sows kept in groups throughout the production cycle and no tail docking, according to Nicolaj Norgaard, the director of the Danish Pig Research Centre.
“It will mean about DKK2 per kilo extra for the farmer, but will have to be 10DKK more for slaughterer,” he said.
“By 2020 we want more free range farrowing systems and we are working with the welfare groups in Sweden and the UK as well as Denmark.”
The new pig meat products will soon be available in Danish supermarkets and butchers’ shops.
The concept behind the Welfare Pig is that in terms of welfare standards and price, it should offer an alternative to the conventional, organic and free-range pig. A declaration of intent for future cooperation has been signed to this effect today.
”I’m delighted to be able to introduce the Welfare Pig to Danish consumers,” said ,” said the Chairman of Dyrenes Venner (‘Animals’ Friends’), Peter Mollerup.
“For those who wish to pay a little more for a higher standard of welfare, but who are not inclined to go the whole way and pay for an organic or free-range pig, the Welfare Pig is a worthy alternative, which I, together with the Danish Pig Research Centre, Danish Crown and Tican, are proud to present.”
He says that with the new Welfare Pig, the three parties are taking a significant step forward with regard to the welfare of Danish pigs
“The pigs will have more straw, will be in loose systems and there will be no tail docking. I believe that a great many consumers will be prepared to pay a bit extra to reflect these significant welfare improvements. I’m convinced that this agreement will ensure that the conditions of many pigs will improve,” says Mr Mollerup.
Lindhart B. Nielsen, the Chairman of DAFC, Pig Production, said the Welfare Pig represents major welfare improvements because it will encompass many pigs and underpin the strategic objective of pig production to ensure that sows are not confined during the farrowing period.
”I hope that with this declaration of intent we can obtain a premium for the producer of around DKK 2 to cover the additional costs involved in producing the Welfare Pig,” he said.
The slaughterhouse, Tican, that will slaughter and sell the Welfare Pig, can also see the wider implications coming from this new initiative. To a large extent, the Welfare Pig will meet the same requirements as the Freedom Food standard in Britain Tican’s Chairman, Jens Jørgen Henriksen, therefore, believes that there are benefits to be gained from future export opportunities in the longer term.
”We’re delighted with the support from Dyrenes Venner,” said Mr Henriksen.
“This agreement paves the way for a production that we believe has great potential – both in the home market and for exports. We know that price means a lot to consumers but with an additional price of just 10-15 per cent in the shops, we’re still convinced that many Danish consumers will choose the Welfare Pig, when they have the opportunity.”
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