Happier times ahead for Lithuanian pigs
As of 2013 Lithuanian pig farmers have to comply with the EU Pig Welfare Directive, providing toys and extra time, sufficient bedding for the better wellbeing of the pigs. However, the farmers from the former eastern block country are struggling to see the point.
A EU Pig Welfare Directive states that pigs must have permanent access to a sufficient quantity of material to enable proper investigation and manipulation activities, such as straw, hay, wood, sawdust, mushroom compost and peat.
It was passed in 2008. It became law in the UK in January 2003. In 2005, the pig leisure enrichment program went into effect in Denmark. And a few years later, it became law in Germany. Many of the other EU member stats promised to bring the directive into effect by 2012, but it has stalled in many countries. Not because of farmers willingness to adapt the directive but more due to the massive pork imports from the EU-directive disobeying member states, mostly in Eastern Europe, that glut the “pig-friendly” states’ meat eaters with cheap pork.
Lithuanian farmers are concerned that it will cause the price of pork to raise. As the type of toys to be provided are expensive.
“Some of the tiniest pig balls cost up to 5-8 litas, when the larger dangling and rattling toys cost a few dozen litas. I estimate I’ll have to spend up to a thousand litas a year for the game stuff,” commented one farmer “that is too much for a small-sized farm.”
Farmers also concerns about the use of sawdust and peat as it will clog the sewage pipes, create more slime, which will mean increased transportation costs, a farmer noted.
The farmers are also concerned about the pigs increased mobility and physical acitivity – creating leaner pigs.
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