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STANDING COMMITTEE OF THE EUROPEAN CONVENTION FOR THE PROTECTION OF ANIMALS KEPT FOR FARMING PURPOSES (T-AP)

RECOMMENDATION CONCERNING PIGS

adopted by the Standing Committee on 2 December 2004

(In accordance with Article 9, paragraph 3 of the Convention, this Recommendation entered into force on 2 June 2005)

This Recommendation replaces the Recommendation concerning pigs
adopted on 21 November 1986

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PREAMBLE 

(1). The Standing Committee of the European Convention for the Protection of Animals kept for Farming Purposes;

(2). Having regard to its responsibility under Article 9 of the Convention for the elaboration and adoption of recommendations to the Parties containing detailed provisions for the implementation of the principles set out in Chapter I of the Convention based on scientific knowledge concerning the various species of animals;

(3). Aware also of the established experience in the implementation of the principles of animal welfare set out in Articles 3-7 of the Convention;

(4). Aware that the basic requirement for good welfare of livestock, including health, consist of good stockmanship and husbandry appropriate to the biological needs of the animal and suitable environmental factors, so that the conditions under which pigs are kept fulfil the needs for appropriate nutrition and methods of feeding, freedom of movement, physical comfort and social contact; the need to perform normal behaviour in connection with getting up, lying down, turning around, resting and sleeping postures, walking, running, social interaction, exploratory behaviour, rooting, scratching and rubbing, eating, drinking, defecating; the need for protection against adverse climatic conditions, injury, fear and distress, infestation and disease or behavioural disorder; as well as any other requirements as may be identified by established practice and scientific knowledge;

(5). Aware that, in the light of established experience and scientific knowledge about the biological needs of pigs, some methods of husbandry at present in commercial use often fail to meet all the needs the fulfilment of which is essential for the animals' welfare;

(6). Bearing in mind that the environment and management have to fulfil the animals' biological needs rather than trying to "adapt" the animals to the environment by procedures such as mutilations;

(7). Considering therefore, that strong and continuous efforts have to be made to adapt existing systems and develop satisfactory new systems so that the animals' needs can be met;

(8). Concerned with the possibility that the results of developments in breeding and biotechnology may further influence the welfare of pigs and aware of the need to ensure that such developments do not adversely affect their welfare, including their health;

(9). Bearing in mind that it is an obligation of the Committee to reconsider any recommendation when relevant new knowledge is available and therefore wishing to encourage the continuation of research by all Parties with the object of making optimum use of new techniques to ensure that the needs of the pigs are met and hence their welfare, including their health, is good;

Has adopted the following Recommendation concerning pigs:

BIOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS OF PIGS 

a. The pig was first domesticated over 5000 years ago from its wild boar (Sus scrofa) ancestor. Selection by humans during the last 200 years, initially for large size and fat production but recently for large size, leanness, fast growth and large litter size has changed pigs rapidly. However, pigs still have many of the characteristics and abilities of their ancestors and have readily become feral in many parts of the world.

b. When studied in near to nature enclosures, domestic pigs have been found to spend much time in wooded areas and some time in open areas. Wild boar and feral pigs are not territorial but individuals or groups live in home ranges varying from 100-2500 ha, the size depending largely on food availability. They are largely diurnal but can be more nocturnal under certain circumstances. For example, if exposed to predators or during very warm periods. Even when food availability is good, most pigs in extensive and varied conditions are active for more than half of the daytime. Pigs have limited temperature regulatory abilities. They rely on wallowing for cooling in hot weather and often huddle with others in a sheltered, well insulated place, such as a nest which they have built, when conditions are cold.

c. Pigs are omnivorous, eating grass, roots, earthworms, and other material of plant and animal origin. Most food searching involves rooting in the ground but grazing and browsing also occur. The snout of the pig is especially adapted for rooting. The nasal disc is rigid enough to withstand considerable force but richly supplied with sensory receptors. Olfactory abilities are extremely well-developed and both visual and auditory ability are good. Pigs have a strong preference for rooting in the ground even when satiated, and also spend time manipulating vegetation with their mouth and snout.

d. Exploratory and foraging behaviour occupies a substantial amount of time (up to 75%) of daily activity of a pig. In addition to food-finding, daily activities include anti-predator behaviour and social behaviour. Anti-predator behaviour involves hiding, running and fighting back with the tusks if attacked. In order to maintain the condition of the body surface, pigs scratch themselves but do not otherwise spend much time grooming themselves.

e. Pigs are gregarious animals and spend most of their lives in groups, usually of two to six animals but more if young are present. They interact with other group members, nose one another and often lie together. Within groups they form stable social structures which are maintained with little aggressive behaviour. Much social communication involves vocalisation, ranging from contact grunts to warning calls and screams when attacked. The screams, by piglets or adults, may elicit assistance from the mother or other group members. Boars are sometimes solitary but, more often, stay in groups. Breeding is seasonal in wild boar and feral pigs but largely aseasonal in domestic pigs. Females are in heat for about 72 hours and actively seek boars at this time. The boar produces an odour, a sound, the "chant de cour", and behaviour which stimulates the female. In the first weeks after fertilisation, stressors like high environmental temperature or high animal density can result in embryonic loss.

f. Pregnancy lasts about 115 days in wild, feral and domestic pigs. The gilts and sows show a substantial change in behaviour in the day or two before parturition. They leave the herd and wander, often outside the home range, until they find a suitable nesting site. The site chosen is ideally a natural dry hollow protected on at least one side by a bank, tree or stones and overhead by branches. All gilts and sows show nest-building behaviour at the beginning of the 24 hours before parturition. By rooting, pawing, carrying vegetation and arranging vegetation and earth a hollowed out nest is formed, which may include very large quantities of material. In the absence of suitable materials or substratum, many elements of this behaviour, including restlessness, occur at this time. During and immediately after parturition, the mother may sniff the young but does not lick them or assist them to get free of the foetal membranes.

g. Newborn piglets usually find the teat within 30 minutes of birth but if they fail to obtain colostrum within 20 hours they usually die. After the first few hours, milk ejection occurs for about 20 s every 40-60 minutes, after rhythmic grunting by the sow which encourages the sucking behaviour of piglets”. Hence piglets in a litter must suck simultaneously and those which do not find an available teat will die. Piglets fight for teats, establish a favoured teat and massage the udder to promote milk production. Unused teats become dry. In free-ranging domestic pigs, piglets may investigate solid food from four or five weeks onwards but the normal range, under natural conditions, for the weaning age is 13-19 weeks. The sow lies in the nest or close to it for most of the time for up to ten days. Piglets normally encounter other group members, including other piglets, at 10-14 days of age, when the sow returns to the herd. At this time there is seldom any damaging fighting but at later ages, mixing poses serious problems for piglets.

h. In natural conditions, pigs rest in specific resting areas (nests) away from foraging areas. Pigs defecate while they forage. Faeces are deposited at least several meters away from the resting area.

GENERAL PROVISIONS 

Article 1

1. This Recommendation shall apply to pigs of the species Sus scrofa or its crossbreeds kept for the production of meat, skin, bristles or any other farming purposes.

2. Specific provisions contained in the Appendices to this Recommendation constitute an integral part thereof.

Article 2

When considering husbandry practices, the biological characteristics of pigs, presented under “Biological characteristics”, should be borne in mind.

Article 3

Feral pigs or wild boars taken from the wild shall only be kept for farming purposes if they are kept in enclosures that are equivalent in quality to their natural habitat.

STOCKMANSHIP AND INSPECTION OF PIGS 

Article 4

1. Any person who owns pigs, or for the time being has pigs under his or her control (hereafter referred as the “stockman”), and every person engaged in the keeping of pigs shall, according to their responsibilities, ensure that every reasonable step is taken to safeguard the welfare, including the health, of the animals.

2. A substantial period of training appropriate to their responsibilities, including practical experience, as well as continued training, are considered essential for those engaged in the keeping of pigs.

3. All persons (staff and stockman) shall be trained to act and respond in cases of emergency to safeguard, as far as possible, the welfare of the animals.

4. The pigs shall be cared for by a sufficient number of persons with adequate knowledge of pigs and of the husbandry system in use to be able to:

a. recognise whether the animals are in good health;
b. recognise whether the animals can stand and move normally;
c. recognise normal behaviour and the significance of behavioural changes;
d. appreciate the suitability of the total environment for the animals' health and welfare.

5. A system should be considered, whereby a certificate of competence, approved by the competent authorities, can be issued at least to the stockmen.

Article 5

1. In order to develop a positive relationship between man and animal, there shall be appropriate careful handling from an early age.

2. When pigs are moved from one system of husbandry to another, they should be carefully supervised to ensure that they adapt to the new system.

Article 6

Pigs kept for farming purposes shall not be used for public spectacles or demonstrations, if such use is likely to be detrimental to their welfare, including their health.

Article 7

1. The pigs shall be thoroughly inspected at least once a day, preferably more frequently, and for this purpose a source of light shall be available which is strong enough for each pig to be seen clearly. Such inspections shall be made independently of any automatic surveillance equipment. In addition, the groups should be checked at other times during the day.

2. During thorough overall inspection of the pigs, special attention shall be paid to bodily condition, activity, condition of bristles, skin, eyes, ears, tail, legs, feet and locomotion; attention shall also be paid to the presence of external parasites, to the presence of coughing, to the condition of droppings and to feed and water consumption.

3. Individual examination shall be made of those pigs for which the overall inspection indicates it to be necessary.

Article 8

1. At the inspection it must be borne in mind that the healthy pig makes sounds, including grunts and squeals, has activity, movements and posture appropriate to its age, sex, breed or physiological condition, for example respiratory characteristics, stage of sexual development or reproductive condition; that it has clean and bright eyes, skin free from obvious lesions or damage, normal legs and feet, normal feeding, drinking, defecating and urinating, sucking or suckling behaviour, normal exploratory behaviour.

2. If pigs are apparently not in good health or if they are showing obvious signs of adverse behavioural changes such as excessively aggressive behaviour, or if they are regularly defecating in a lying area, when this area is clearly defined, the person responsible for them shall take steps without delay to establish the cause and shall take appropriate remedial action. If the immediate action taken by the person responsible is not effective either a veterinarian must be consulted or, if necessary, other expert advice sought.

If the cause is traced to an environmental factor within the production unit, which it is not essential to remedy immediately, this shall be corrected when the accommodation is emptied and before other pigs are introduced.

3. Without prejudice to Article 21, injured, sick or distressed animals shall be treated without delay and if necessary separated from the rest of the group and placed in suitable accommodation available for this purpose.

ENCLOSURES, HOUSING AND EQUIPMENT 

Article 9

1. Professional advice on health and welfare aspects should be sought when new accommodation is planned, or existing accommodation is modified in accordance with legislation in force.

2. New methods of husbandry, and new designs of equipment or accommodation for pigs should be comprehensively and objectively tested from the point of view of welfare including health, and not be put into commercial use unless found to be satisfactory in accordance with a procedure laid down by the competent authority.

Article 10

1. When new accommodation for pigs is planned, a suitable site shall be selected, taking into consideration the risk of outside environmental factors such as noise, vibration and atmospheric pollution.

2. Outdoor pig units shall be established only where climatic and other conditions are suitable for their welfare and where the land is well drained.

Where appropriate, full advantage shall be taken of natural features to provide shelter from adverse weather conditions.

Article 11

1. The design, construction and maintenance of enclosures, buildings and equipment, for pigs shall be such that they:

- allow the fulfilment of essential biological requirements, including the maintenance of good health;
- provide a stimulating environment;
- permit pigs to be kept in a level of light which does not impair normal behaviour and physiological functions;
- do not cause traumatic injury to the pigs;
- limit the risk of disease, disorders manifested by behavioural changes, injuries caused by pigs to each other;
- avoid materials which may be harmful to the pigs;
- provide protection from predators and adverse weather conditions;
- allow for easy maintenance of good conditions of hygiene, air and water quality;
- allow, without difficulty, a thorough inspection of all pigs;
- facilitate management of the animals;
- cause the least possible noise inside the accommodation.

Endeavours shall be made to provide pigs with adequate facilities to allow the expression of the different behaviours described under "Biological characteristics of pigs".

2. Whatever husbandry system is used, pigs shall be able to see conspecifics and be able to show social investigation and behaviour associated with the maintenance of social structure. However, in the week before the expected farrowing and during farrowing, sows and gilts can be kept out of sight of conspecifics. Visual barriers within group pens, which allow pigs to hide from aggressors, should be provided at least during mixing.

3. The construction of or conversion to installations in which pigs are tethered shall be prohibited.

4. Floors shall be made of appropriate materials, and shall be easy to clean and disinfect and to keep dry and non-slippery. They shall form a rigid, smooth and stable surface.

5. Pigs shall be provided with a lying area which allow all the animals to lie at the same time. Solid floor should be used in the lying area.

6. If slatted or perforated floors are used, they shall be suitable for the weight of the pig housed and the size of their claws, in such a way that the likelihood of trapping, discomfort whilst standing or walking, and injury is prevented.

7. Feeding and watering equipment shall be designed, constructed, placed and maintained in such a way that:

- it minimises spillage or contamination of food and water;
- all pigs have sufficient access to it to avoid undue competition between individuals;
- it does not cause or result in injury to the animals;
- it operates in all weather conditions;
- the provision of water and the overall consumption of feed, can be controlled.

8. Suitable and sufficient accommodation and equipment shall be available for separation, handling, examination of pigs and the treatment of sick or injured pigs.

9. Suitable facilities shall be provided for unloading and loading of pigs.

MANAGEMENT 

Article 12

With the exception of the cases provided in the Appendix, the area available to the pigs when group housed shall be calculated in relation to pig’s demand on the whole environment, the biological needs of the animals, their age, sex, breed or physiological condition, taking into account the size of the group. It shall at least allow all pigs to lie down on their side, rest and get up normally, turn around and walk and to choose a lying area other than the dunging area. Lack of space or overstocking leading to tail biting, trampling, smothering or other disorders shall be avoided.

Tethering as a husbandry system shall be prohibited from 1 January 2006.

Article 13

All pigs shall at all times have access to adequate amounts of materials for investigation and manipulation, including rooting, for example straw, hay, maize chaff, grass, peat, earth, wood and bark, in order to reduce the risk of behavioural disorders and injuries. The use of such materials shall not be harmful to the welfare, including health, of the pigs

These requirements shall apply to all accommodation for pigs, with the exception of existing accommodation of sows and gilts. These requirements also apply to all new accommodations or when existing ones are replaced. All existing accommodation for sows and gilts shall fulfil these requirements by 1 January 2013.

Article 14

1. All pigs shall have appropriate access to adequate, nutritious, hygienic feed each day, and to adequate supplies of water of suitable quality at all times. All pregnant dry sows and gilts shall be provided with sufficient quantity of bulky or high fibre food or roughage, in order to reduce the sensation of hunger as well as to provide for the need to chew.

2. Sudden substantial changes in the type or quality of feed and feeding procedures shall be avoided except in case of emergency. Methods of feeding and additives which cause injury or distress to the pigs shall not be permitted.

3. The provisions of paragraph 2 shall not apply in the case of therapeutic or prophylactic treatment administered on the instruction of a veterinarian.

4. No other substance with the exception of those given for therapeutic or prophylactic purposes shall be administered to an animal unless it has been demonstrated by scientific evidence or established experience that the effect of the substance is not detrimental to the welfare, including the health, of the animal.

5. Routine or systematic use of drugs, such as antibiotics, other than those for therapeutic purposes, which would compensate for poor hygiene conditions or management practices or mask signs of pain or distress shall not be allowed.

Article 15

1. Any accommodation for pigs shall be kept so that the ambient temperature, the air velocity, the relative humidity, the dust level and other atmospheric conditions do not adversely affect the welfare, including the health, of the pigs; this may require the use of water sprays.

Unless equivalent protection from adverse weather conditions is provided by the natural environment, pigs kept outdoors shall be provided with adequate shelter and plentiful supply of straw or other suitable material to maintain their body temperature in cold weather conditions, and shade and the possibility of regulating their body temperature by having access to water or a wallow in hot weather conditions.

2. The facilities for storing and handling manure on pig units shall be designed, maintained and managed so that the pigs are not exposed to gases, such as ammonia, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulphide in concentrations detrimental to their health.

3. When the welfare, including the health, of the animals depends on automatic or other mechanical systems of ventilation, an effective alarm system shall be installed and arrangements shall be made to ensure continued adequate ventilation in the event of power equipment failure.

Article 16

As far as practicable, the sound level shall be minimised and constant or sudden noise shall be avoided inside the accommodation.

Article 17

Pigs shall be caught and handled in a careful manner and only by competent, trained staff working under the direct supervision of the stockman. Instruments administering electric shocks shall not be used.

Article 18

All automatic or other mechanical equipment upon which the animals depend for their welfare to be good shall be inspected at least daily, preferably more frequently. Provisions shall be made to ensure that any failure of the ventilation system which could endanger the health or welfare of the animals be rectified immediately. If it is impossible, appropriate steps shall be taken to safeguard the health and welfare of the animals until the defect is rectified.

Article 19

Those parts of the accommodation with which the pigs come into contact shall be thoroughly cleansed, and, where appropriate, disinfected, every time the accommodation has been emptied and before new pigs are brought in. While the accommodation is occupied by pigs, exposed surfaces and all equipment shall be kept satisfactorily clean.

Article 20

1. In newly built or rebuilt facilities, and as far as practicable in existing ones, natural light should be provided.

2. All buildings shall have light levels sufficient to allow all pigs to see one another and to be seen clearly, to investigate their surroundings visually and to show normal levels of other activities. Pigs must not be kept permanently in light intensity lower than 40 Lux. Artificial light sources must be mounted so as not to cause discomfort to the pigs.

3. The lighting regime shall be such as to prevent health and behavioural problems. It shall follow a 24-hour rhythm and include sufficient uninterrupted dark and light periods, no less than 8 hours.

Article 21

If pigs are ill or injured to such an extent that treatment is not feasible and transport would cause additional suffering, they must be killed on the farm without delay in accordance with Article 25.

Article 22

1. Semen collection and artificial insemination procedures should be carried out only by trained and competent persons.

2 Mating should be supervised if it takes place in a confined space where the sow cannot escape from the boar.

CHANGES OF GENOTYPE 

Article 23

1. Natural or artificial breeding procedures which cause or are likely to cause suffering or injury to any of the animals involved shall not be practised; no animal shall be kept for farming purposes unless it can reasonably be expected, on the basis of its phenotype or genotype, that it can be kept without detrimental effects on its health or welfare.

2. In breeding programmes, at least as much attention shall be paid to criteria conducive to the improvement of pigs' welfare, including health, as to production criteria. Therefore, the conservation or development of breeds or strains of pigs, which would limit or reduce animal welfare problems, shall be encouraged.

CHANGES OF PHYSICAL APPEARANCE 

Article 24

1. For the purpose of this Recommendation "mutilation" means a procedure carried out other than for therapeutic or diagnostic purposes and resulting in damage to or the loss of a sensitive part of the body or the alteration of bone structure.

2. The mutilation of pigs shall be generally prohibited; measures shall be taken to avoid the need for such procedures in particular by changing inappropriate environmental factors or management systems by enriching the environment, or selecting appropriate breeds and strains of pigs.

3. Exception to this general prohibition may be made by the competent authority only in respect of the following mutilations:

a. If measures referred to in paragraph 2 are not sufficient to prevent suffering in pigs:

i. a partial uniform reduction of the height of canine (corner) teeth of piglets within the first 7 days of life with a minimal exposure of the sensitive area leaving an intact smooth surface, if necessary to protect the sow's udder or the piglets from injury; boar's tusks may be clipped where necessary to prevent injury to other animals or for safety reasons;
ii. no more than half of the tail should be docked within the first 7 days of life. If docking of tail is practised after seven days of life, it shall only be performed under anaesthesia and additional prolonged analgesia administered by a veterinarian.
These procedures must be carried out only if it can be demonstrated that the measures referred to in paragraph 2 have been taken into account and that it is unavoidable in preventing the greater distress to the pigs by tail biting.

b. Castration of male pigs under 7 days without tearing of tissue.
Castration of pigs over 7 days of age shall be performed under anaesthesia and prolonged analgesia and in accordance with national legislation.

c. Nose ringing of adult pigs in outdoor husbandry systems only where necessary to comply
with national legislation.

4. The procedures under paragraph 3 shall be carried out by a veterinary surgeon or by a skilled operator and in accordance with national legislation.

5. Ear marking by tagging, notching or tattooing, identification by implantation of an electronic device, shall be carried out by a skilled operator in accordance with national legislation.

EMERGENCY KILLING 

Article 25

1. Killing must be done without causing undue pain, agitation or other forms of distress and without delay by a person skilled in the techniques of killing except in an emergency when such a person is not available.

2. The methods used shall either:

a. cause immediate loss of consciousness and death, or
b. rapidly render the animal insensible to pain and distress, until death supervenes, or
c. cause the death of an animal which is anaesthetised or effectively stunned.

3. The person responsible for the killing shall ensure that for each pig the requirements of paragraph 2 are fulfilled and that the animal is dead.

RESEARCH 

Article 26

Contracting Parties shall seek to encourage research on the developments of husbandry systems, in particular farrowing systems, which fully respect the biological needs of pigs and prevent the need for mutilations referred to in Article 24.
Studies should in particular address environmental enrichment, the requirements of the pigs for free movement, social contacts, exploratory behaviour, and comfortable lying area.

SUPPLEMENTARY PROVISION 

Article 27

This Recommendation shall be reviewed within 5 years after coming into force, and, if appropriate, amended according to any new scientific knowledge, which becomes available, in particular in respect to loose housing systems for sows during perinatal and suckling periods.

APPENDIX 

ADDITIONAL PROVISIONS FOR THE VARIOUS CATEGORIES OF PIGS 

I. BOARS FOR BREEDING PURPOSES 

1. Boar pens shall be sited so as to allow the boar sound, smell and sight of other pigs.

2. The minimum unobstructed floor area shall be 6 m. However, for large boars, this area should be increased to 7.5 m. The accommodation where boars are kept should have a separate dunging area.

3. If a boar pen is also used as a service pen:

- it shall be large enough to allow courtship behaviour, in particular to determine whether the sow is ready to be served.
To that end, the unobstructed floor area must be at least 10 m. This provision shall apply to all holdings newly built or rebuilt or brought into use for the first time. From 1 January 2005, this provision shall apply to all holdings;

- slatted or perforated floors should only be used in the dunging area.

4. If the boar is kept with other boars or sows, measures shall be taken to prevent excessive fighting, especially during feeding. If signs of severe fighting appear the causes shall be immediately investigated and appropriate preventive measures taken.

II. DRY SOWS (SOWS BETWEEN WEANING AND PRENATAL PERIOD AND GILTS BETWEEN TIME FOR SERVING AND PRENATAL PERIOD) 

1. Dry sows shall be group housed. This provision shall apply to all holdings newly built or rebuilt or brought into use for the first time. For existing holdings, this provision shall apply from 1 January 2013.

The total unobstructed floor area available to each gilt after service and to each sow when gilts and/or sows are kept in groups must be at least 1.64m and 2.25m respectively. When these animals are kept in groups of less than 6 individuals, the unobstructed floor area must be increased by 10%. When these animals are kept in groups of 40 or more individuals the unobstructed floor area may be decreased by 10%.
Flooring surfaces shall comply with the following requirements for gilts after service and pregnant sows: a part of the area required above, equal to at least 0.95m per gilt and at least 1.3m per sow, must be of continuous solid floor of which a maximum of 15%, but preferably not more than 10%, is reserved for drainage openings.

2. The period after service or insemination when sows can be kept in individuals stalls shall be kept to a minimum. This period shall under no circumstances be more than four weeks. Exception to this provision for dry sows and gilts to be group housed can be made for:
- sows and gilts raised on holdings of fewer than 10 sows,
- aggressive animals, and
- the treatment of sick or injured animals,
provided that the animals are kept in pens where they can turn around easily .

3. The accommodation where dry sows are kept shall allow them normal social interactions.

4. Where sows are group housed, groups shall be kept as stable as possible. Measures shall be taken to avoid excessive aggression, such as the provision of roughage, sufficient extra space or visual barriers to enable sows to escape or hide from aggressors, and facilities to enable each sow to feed without disturbance. If signs of severe fighting appear the causes shall be immediately investigated and appropriate preventive measures taken.

III. SOWS DURING THE PERINATAL PERIOD AND SOWS AND PIGLETS DURING THE SUCKLING PERIOD 

1. The accommodation where sows and piglets are kept shall enable the fulfilment of the special behavioural patterns of the sow before, during and after parturition, and those of the piglets after birth, provided that the piglets are adequately protected from being injured or killed by the sow. The accommodation shall enable satisfactory farrowing with or without assistance.

2. In the week before farrowing time, when sows and gilts can be kept in individual stalls, suitable nesting material in sufficient quantity shall be available, unless it is not technically feasible for the slurry system used in the establishment. Nesting material should preferably be available in all holdings newly built, rebuilt or brought into use after the entry into force of this Recommendation.

3. During the perinatal and suckling periods, loose housing system of sows should be aimed at.

4. Farrowing quarters, where sows are kept loose, shall have some means of protecting the piglets, such as farrowing rails.

5. Sows shall be settled into clean farrowing quarters at the appropriate time before the piglets are due to be born. In the cases where sows are closely confined, they shall be given sufficient time to adapt to the confinement system before farrowing.

6. Sows shall be kept clean and dry during parturition and the suckling period by providing a separate dunging area and by effective disposal of urine and fces.

7. The special demands of young piglets on micro-climate shall be met by providing them, where necessary, either with plenty of straw under which they can snuggle, or with extra heat for their lying area or by satisfying their needs in another way, not detrimental to the sow.

8. No piglets shall be weaned from the sow at less than 28 days of age unless the welfare or health of the dam or the piglet would otherwise be adversely affected.
However, piglets may be weaned up to 7 days earlier if they are moved into specialised housings which are emptied and thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before the introduction of a new group and which are separated from housings where sows are kept.

IV. PIGLETS FROM WEANING TO ABOUT TEN WEEKS 

1. The accommodation where piglets are kept shall enable them to fulfil their special behaviour patterns.

2. Housing systems should preferably have a part of the floor sufficient to allow all the animals to rest together to be solid or covered with a suitable material.

3. The total available area shall be such as to permit normal social interactions.

4. The mixing of pigs should be minimised as far as possible. If pigs unfamiliar with one another have to be mixed, this should be done at as young an age as possible, preferably before or up to one week after weaning. Mixing of groups of an almost equal size should be aimed at. When pigs are mixed they shall be provided with adequate opportunities to escape and hide from other pigs. Any mixing shall be carefully supervised.

5. When litters are mixed, measures shall be taken to prevent excessive fighting. If signs of severe fighting appear, preventive measures must be taken, e.g. providing plentiful amounts of straw and visual barriers; if this does not help, animals at risk or particular aggressors shall be removed.

V. PIGS FROM ABOUT TEN WEEKS TO SLAUGHTER OR SERVICE 

1. The accommodation where pigs are kept shall enable them to fulfil their special behaviour patterns.

The total available area shall be such as to permit normal social interaction.

2. Before 1 January 2007 the Standing Committee shall adopt requirements concerning minimum available area for different weight categories of pigs, taking into account the general objectives of this Convention, as well as scientific evidence, practical experience, sanitary consequences, environmental effects, different climatic conditions and facilitating the economic and social progress.

3. Pigs should be kept in stable groups with as little mixing as possible. If mixing is unavoidable, it shall be carefully supervised.