Proposed Changes in Housing Gestating Sows Generates Concern

by 5m Editor
16 July 2013, at 8:23am

CANADA - Manitoba Pork Council reports the mandatory elimination of gestation stalls by 2024 proposed in the draft updated Pig Code of Practice is generating the most concern among the province's pork producers, Bruce Cochrane writes.

The public comment period for proposed revisions to Canada's Pig Code of Practice, released by the National Farm Animal Care Council on 1 June ends 3 August.

Manitoba producers, who attended two information sessions identified proposed changes in sow gestation housing, pig space allowance and methods of euthanasia as the areas of greatest concern.

George Matheson, an executive member of Manitoba Pork Council's board of directors reports the issue that generated the most discussion was the recommendation that Canadian producers move to loose sow housing by 2024.

George Matheson-Manitoba Pork Council

Many producers in Manitoba felt that this should not become mandatory, it should be market driven and a voluntary change being made.

Producers are dealing with a pregnant female and a female of any species that's pregnant, probably the thing they most desire is a non-competitive atmosphere and this is what producers have always strived to achieve and that's the general reason why they moved to gestation stalls a number of years ago from loose housing.

I think producers in Manitoba, the general feeling was that because sows through genetics continue to get larger that adjustments to the stalls for more space allowance there be seriously considered so that these animals at this state can receive individual attention.

Mr Matheson stresses pork producers want the best welfare possible for their pigs but the studies on which is the best method for housing pregnant sows are not complete so the general feeling is that shifting to loose housing should be voluntary.