Livestock Production Measures Closer to European Standards

CANADA - The North American Manager of Egebjerg International observes livestock production standards in North America are moving closer to those in Europe, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 7 July 2008
clock icon 3 minute read

Last week staff at the Prairie Swine Centre at Floral, Saskatchewan started moving pigs into the centre's new sow research unit.

The new 300 sow capacity research barn replaces three smaller sow barns built in 1979.

The walk-in lock-in or, freedom stalls, being used in the new barn were developed by Egebjerg International in accordance with European animal welfare standards.

North American regional Manager Helena Echberg says there is a lot more talk in North America these days about loose housing of sows in groups.

Helena Echberg-Egebjerg International

The stalling system was developed in Denmark in Europe and, because the standards over there are a little different than the North American standards, in their gestation area we have installed a free access stall.

In Denmark it has been, for the last 20 years, they've been researching for group housed sows and we have been through a lot of different systems.

One of the systems that is recommended and preferred by Danish farmers is the free access stall where the sow can walk in and out as she pleases.

It's a self locking stall.

Echberg observes, over the last year especially, there has been a lot of change in North American production and standards are moving closer to those in Europe.

She adds, in Europe many of these standards have been brought in through legislation where as in North American it's a choice being made by farmers.

She notes North American producers are also looking to improve labour and energy efficiency, factors that have been a focus in Europe for many years.

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