Letter on breaches of the EU-Pigs Directive open for MEP-signature

On 26/09/2013, in All posts, by Animal Welfare Intergroup

Following this week’s CIWF event with Joanna Lumley on the widespread breaches of the EU- Pigs Directive, MEPs have now the possibility  to sign the letter below:

Dear Commissioner, Dear Ministers,

There is clear evidence that many EU pig producers are infringing important provisions of Council Directive 2008/120 on the protection of pigs (the Pigs Directive) and that many Member States are failing to enforce these provisions.

The provisions in question:

  • require pigs to be provided with enrichment materials to enable them to engage in their natural investigation and manipulation behaviours
  • prohibit routine tail docking.  The Directive provides that farmers must first try to prevent tail biting by changing inadequate conditions.  They may only tail dock if, having genuinely improved the conditions on the farm, they still have a tail biting problem.

The 2008 Directive is a codified version of earlier legislation.  The above provisions have been in force since 2003.

In 2013 Compassion in World Farming (Compassion) investigated pig farms in six Member States: Italy, Spain, the Czech Republic, Ireland, Cyprus and Poland.  They visited 45 farms.  All but one of these farms were breaking the above provisions on the welfare of pigs.  In addition, many of the farms were filthy breaking the Directive’s requirement that pigs should have a clean lying area.

The pig sector & Member State authorities have known about these problems for many years – and have failed to take effective action.  In 2008 and 2009 Compassion conducted an investigation in 74 pig farms across Europe: in Germany, Denmark, Hungary, Netherlands, Spain and UK.  Most of the pigs seen during this investigation were being farmed in breach of the Directive’s provisions on enrichment and tail docking. 

In addition, reports by the Commission’s Food and Veterinary Office have repeatedly drawn attention to non-compliance with the law requiring enrichment materials to be provided and the ban on routine tail docking.

It is unacceptable that, over ten years since they came into force, many pigs are being reared in breach of key aspects of EU welfare legislation.  We welcome the fact that the Commission is currently developing guidance on the Pigs Directive.  However, some Member States are using this as an excuse for inaction.

In addition, in a number of Member States sows are still being kept in sow stalls in breach of the Directive.

We urge the Commission and the Member States to take effective steps to ensure proper enforcement of the Directive.

Your sincerely,

Please contact for further information.


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