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WA to comment on pig welfare

by 5m Editor
1 July 2006, at 12:00am

AUSTRALIA - The Western Australian pig industry has until 31 July to provide feedback on the proposed National Code of Practice for pig welfare, reports the Department of Agriculture and Food Government of Western Australia.

Department of Agriculture and Food Animal Biosecurity Director Ashley Mercy urged local pig producers and processors, and anyone with an interest in pig welfare, to have their say on the national code, released earlier this month by Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Peter McGauran.

Dr Mercy said the Department had worked with industry representatives, other State agriculture departments and representatives from the RSPCA, Animals Australia and national animal welfare organisations to strengthen the existing code.

He said the new guidelines would provide a higher level of certainty for the welfare of pigs and Australia's pig industry.

"The major advance is that the proposed code reduces the time that pregnant sows may be kept in confinement stalls from the current 16 weeks to six weeks," Dr Mercy said.

"Other benefits of the draft code include increasing the size of stalls and proper training of people managing pigs or supervision by a trained person.

"Recognising that all pig housing systems have welfare benefits and impacts, the review has recommended a housing system that incorporates the best available science on the needs of animals and the economic ramifications for the pig industry.

"Setting minimum standards paves the way for state and territory jurisdictions to incorporate the national code into regulations, strengthening compliance and options for prosecution."

Dr Mercy said the proposed code addressed a number of deficiencies identified in the existing code, and in particular provided a higher level of certainty for both the welfare of pigs and Australia's pig industry.

"Scientific and technological information as well as public expectations have been taken into consideration in developing these guidelines and will be used to uphold state regulations and strengthen compliance," he said.

Copies of the proposed code are available from the Victorian Department of Primary Industries on 136 186 or visiting their website www.dpi.vic.gov.au/pigcodeconsultation. An online survey form has been established to register comments.

Written comments can be sent to National Pig Code Consultation, c/- Bureau of Animal Welfare, 475 Mickleham Rd, Attwood, Victoria, 3049.

The PigSite News Desk

5m Editor