Pig housing standards revised

NETHERLANDS - The Dutch Ministry of Agriculture published amendments to the Dutch Pig Decree (Varkensbesluit) on 8 May 2003, incorporating several aspects of two European directives into Dutch national legislation.
calendar icon 26 May 2003
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For example, the maximum width of the openings in slatted floors for weaners has been reduced by one millimetre. The new standards are already incorporated within the Dutch IKB quality assurance system. Most of the changes to the European directives will have little impact on the those Dutch farmers already within the IKB system as these or similar regulations regulations were already in force.

The most obvious difference between Dutch legislation and the European directives is the minimum available floor area per pig. The Dutch standards give most categories of pigs about 50% more space. In the Netherlands tethering of sows has been prohibited since 1996, while in the EU this ban will not come into effect until 2006. It is also prohibited to keep pigs on fully slatted floors in the Netherlands as from 1 January 2003.

It is not just the standard for slatted floors for weaners that has been revised. The maximum width of the openings in floors for fattening pigs is also to be reduced, by two millimetres. The amendments also include an increase in the minimum floor area for small groups of sows, extra requirements for dispensing water and feed and additional lighting and noise standards.

Some of the new European requirements may call for significant investment by those pig farmers outside of the IKB system who do not yet meet the standards. Figures from the Ministry of Agriculture indicate that this is particularly true where slatted floors need to be modified and additional lighting provided in buildings where daylight does not penetrate right to the back of the pig units. According to the Ministry, most of the other new changes required can easily be introduced.

The new European standards were already part of the Dutch IKB system. You can find detailed information about pig housing in the Netherlands on our website, in Chapter 11 "Housing" of the Dutch Pork Quality Manual.

Source: Dutch Meat Board- May 2003

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