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Dutch Producers Will be Higher-Welfare Challengers

by 5m Editor
2 September 2010, at 9:34am

NETHERLANDS - British retailers and consumers have not considered the Dutch to be particularly high-welfare pig producers, compared to Britain.

But that changes in January 2013 when the European partial stalls ban is fully implemented.

The rest of the continent will introduce the minimum requirements of European law, which means sows can still spend almost a quarter of their productive lives in stalls.

In the Netherlands, however, producers will be subject to more demanding welfare restrictions.

They must loose-house gilts and sows except for one week before farrowing and for only four days after service, whereas European law will allow up to four weeks in stalls after service.

The new Netherlands model will bring it almost into line with Sweden (sows must always be loose-housed except for the week before farrowing) and the United Kingdom (stalls outlawed altogether).

Some British retailers may claim the new Netherlands welfare model is as near to Britain's as makes no difference, which would give an unwelcome edge to Vion's marketing in this country.

As a major exporter of weaners across the continent, the Netherland's higher welfare stance will be transmitted through the continental supply chain.

It has been suggested a third of Dutch producers could cease production in 2013 in response to unilateral environmental and welfare legislation in Holland. It is a fair bet the survivors will be seeking a premium.