Group housing, the future for sows

A special trends report by Roxell analyzes expected changes in sow houses
calendar icon 17 November 2021
clock icon 4 minute read

In July 2020, Germany published new guidelines for farrowing and insemination houses. They are likely a good indication of what the future EU rules will comprise, said Roxell. Under the new rules, individual insemination pens for sows are to be abolished by 2028. Stays in an individual farrowing pen will be limited to a maximum of five days. Within three years of the law coming into force, sow keepers must present their renovation plans. A building permit must be requested within two years after that.

Pig farmers who decide to terminate their farming activities will be asked to provide a written declaration of this. They will then be permitted to continue operating for a few more years without making extra investments.

A ruling by a supreme court in New Zealand found that individual farrowing pens infringe upon the Animal Welfare Act. The ministry of agriculture will have to find alternatives for half of all sow keepers in New Zealand.

In order to comply with new legislation, many farmers will require a completely new design. Temporary housing in pens is likely not the best option, said the report. But in order for sow keepers to make the right, future-proof investments, more research will be needed, as the switch to group housing will require significant investment. The sector must be able to pass costs on to stores, and fair competition with meat that is not produced under the same standards is a must.

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