New rules for sow housing are coming into effect today.
"After 3 December, all people responsible for the welfare of pigs must ensure that mated sows and gilts (young female pigs expecting their first litter) are not confined in stalls during pregnancy. The use of mating stalls for service is permitted, for no longer than 1 week," says Dean Baigent, Director of Compliance at the Ministry for Primary Industries.
The Code of Welfare for pigs was developed by National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) under the Animal Welfare Act 1999, and issued in 2010 by the Minister for Primary Industries.
The 2010 Code contains a minimum standard outlining this new requirement from 3 December 2015.
"NAWAC recognises that while stalls were developed as a way of managing the negative aspects of sows' aggressive behaviour they restrict other natural behaviours such as freedom of movement," says Mr Baigent. "The Code set out a transition period to gradually move out of stalls to enable farmers to develop different ways of managing aggression within group housing and implement them on their farms."
If pig farmers require any clarification on the new rules, they can contact either MPI or their industry body.