14 November 1997

Pig welfare bill to clamp ban on tail docking

IMPROVING animal welfare standards for fattening pigs is the main aim of a Bill being introduced in the House of Commons by Labour MP Chris Mullin later this month.

The Health and Welfare of Pigs Bill will be heard on Nov 26, and will look at various welfare aspects, including stocking densities, bedding, weaning and tail docking.

Peter Stevenson, political and legal director of the Bills sponsor Compassion in World Farming, said one of the main aims was to highlight the practice of tail docking, which was still done routinely, despite a ban imposed under the 1994 Welfare of Livestock Regulations.

But Ann Petersson, NFU pig adviser, said the union believed the regulations, which allow farmers to dock piglets tails if they envisage that tail biting will occur, were satisfactory.

"It is not carried out routinely and our advice to producers is always to consult with their local vet before docking takes place," she said.