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Efforts to Ban the Routine Tail Docking of Pigs and to Give Pigs Enrichment Materials via EU Law: Where Do We Stand a Quarter of a Century on?

1
Eurogroup for Animals, Rue Ducale 29, B-1000 Brussels, Belgium
2
Federation of Veterinarians of Europe, Avenue Tervueren 12, 1040 Brussels, Belgium
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2019, 9(4), 132; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9040132
Received: 28 February 2019 / Revised: 18 March 2019 / Accepted: 25 March 2019 / Published: 29 March 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Enrichment of Pigs)
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Simple Summary

Enforcing legislation on the welfare of pigs is currently one of the European Commission’s priorities in the area of animal welfare. This article focuses on the legal ban on the routine docking of tails and the provision of enrichment to pigs within the European Union. It provides a chronological overview of the steps that have been taken by European policy makers to promote the correct implementation and enforcement of the law. In addition, it analyses the current state of play, and presents a reflection on possible future scenarios.

Abstract

In its role as guardian of the Treaties, the European Commission must ensure that Member States enforce EU law within their territories. If adequate enforcement is found to be wanting, the Commission also has the power to take infringement procedures as a corrective measure. The case of Directive 120/2008/EC on the protection of pigs is problematic, as only a few Member States are respecting the ban on routine tail docking, whilst not all pigs are given (adequate) enrichment materials. Twenty-five years after the first EU-wide legal ban on routine tail docking came into force, we are faced with an unprecedented situation that may lead to infringement procedures against more than 20 Member States. This paper describes the various steps that led to the development of the EU law designed specifically to safeguard the welfare of pigs. It lists the numerous efforts (research studies, study visits, recommendations, audits, reports, factsheets, action plans, etc.), undertaken by European decision makers to assist Member States in their efforts to better implement and enforce the relevant rules. Finally, the paper further analyses the current state of play and presents a reflection on possible future scenarios. View Full-Text
Keywords: animal welfare; EU policy; pig directive; enrichment materials; mutilations; straw; swine; tail biting; veterinarian animal welfare; EU policy; pig directive; enrichment materials; mutilations; straw; swine; tail biting; veterinarian
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Nalon, E.; De Briyne, N. Efforts to Ban the Routine Tail Docking of Pigs and to Give Pigs Enrichment Materials via EU Law: Where Do We Stand a Quarter of a Century on? Animals 2019, 9, 132.

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