Practical EU guidelines to assess fitness of pigs for transport

Press Release:

European Commission welcomes practical EU guidelines to assess fitness of pigs for transport

Brussels, 21 January 2016

Practical EU guidelines to assess the fitness of pigs for transport, aiming to be an extra tool available to professionals to ensure a high level of fitness for transport of pigs, written by leading EU agri-food, veterinary, road transport, and animal welfare stakeholder groups, have been welcomed by the European Commission. The move comes after 2 years of work by the UECBV, Copa and Cogeca, Eurogroup for Animals, Animals’ Angels, FVE, IRU, ELT, INAPORC and Cooperl Arc Atlantique. “Whilst the role of European legislation is essential in setting out harmonised rules to protect the animals’ welfare, guidelines such as these which explain how these rules should be carried out in practice are crucial,” said Mr Gavinelli, Head of the Animal Welfare Unit of DG SANTE, speaking after the meeting. Continuing, he added that “these joint guidelines will help all those responsible to work together to ensure a high level of welfare of transported animals".

These guidelines are designed to provide easy to understand help and advice to professionals involved in the transportation of pigs and aim to complement existing EU legislation. The guidelines do not represent the real situation in Europe today, but provide a comprehensive list of situations that may occur and the conditions that may result in an animal being classed as unfit for transport to help operators ensure animal welfare is constantly maximised. The guidelines are visual and use photographs/drawings and simple texts to help all operators decide on the suitability of pigs for transport. Ensuring a high level of welfare of animals during transport is in everyone’s interest.

Transporting animals that are unfit not only causes animal suffering but could also lead to penalties, financial losses and the withdrawal of the authorisation of the transporter and/or the driver as well. Whilst the guidelines’ primary aim is to ensure a high level of animal welfare, they also can be useful to better protect the health and safety of anyone involved in the transport process. The guidelines are currently available in English, with Dutch, French, German, Italian, Polish, Romanian and Spanish versions available in the next few months. 

If you are a professional involved in the transport of pigs (producer, veterinarian, transporter, etc.), you can request a copy through the FVE website via

For free download you can go under the FVE restricted website

FVE (Federation of Veterinarians of Europe)

Copa and Cogeca (European farmers and European agri-cooperatives)

UECBV (European Livestock and Meat Trades Union)

Eurogroup for animals (European organisation on animal welfare)

Animals’ Angels (international organisation on animal welfare)

IRU (International Road Transport Union)

ELT (European Livestock Transporters)

INAPORC (l’interprofession nationale porcine – France)

Cooperl Arc Atlantique- 


Pig Welfare: Ministers from Germany, Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands request a revision of the EU Directive

Brussels/Copenhagen. 29 April 2015

FOUR PAWS welcomes this strong political common will to improve pig welfare in the EU

Yesterday, during the International Conference on Pig Welfare taking place in Copenhagen, a joint position paper requesting the revision of Council Directive 2008/120/EC laying down minimum standards for the protection of pigs has been signed by Ministers from Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark.

Already in December 2014, the agricultural ministers of Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark have committed themselves into a joint declaration to improve animal welfare in Europe, and to update the EU legislation with the last scientific improvements. The yesterday’s declaration on pig welfare, is a first step in reaching the goals fixed in 2014.

In particular, the three ministers, joined by the Sweden Minister, are asking for : the reduction of the number of tail docked pigs, no castration without anesthesia, mandatory group housing systems for all pregnant sows and further developments of loose-housing for sows in the farrowing pen.

The agricultural Danish Minister Dan Jørgensen, also former MEP, declared: “A pig is an intelligent sentient being, and should be treated as such”. 

Following this joint declaration, the Commission is encouraged to initiate further studies on this subject, and subsequently draw up guidelines.


Please find the position paper here: Pig position paper 29.04.2015

More on the 2014 Animal Welfare Declaration here:

Website of the IPW Event:


New rules on labelling of fresh, chilled or frozen meat from sheep, goats, pigs and poultry

Up from 1 April 2015, the new rules on labelling of fresh, chilled or frozen meat from sheep, goats, pigs and poultry implemented by Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2011 on the provision of food information to consumers have come into force.

These new rules require the mandatory labelling of "place of rearing" and "place of slaughter" for fresh, chilled or frozen meats from sheep, goats, pigs and poultry.

More on


Study on routine taildocking of pigs

A EU study on routine taildocking of pigs has been done for the PETI Committee

Upon request of the PETI committee, the present study examines the issues raised in Petition 0336/2012, the legal framework on the protection of pigs, the level of implementation of the Directive on the protection of pigs in relation to tail-docking on the basis of the available information, the actions being carried out, or that could be carried out, to ensure proper implementation by Member States of the Directive requirements. 

Read the study:  Pig tails study


India: Ban of animal dissection in college

With immediate effect, India has banned animal dissections in undergraduate and postgraduate programmes (Highschool and University). A partial banned was already implemented in 2011. Up to now, all animal dissection will be virtually done on womputers with softwares like ProDissector Frog, BioLab Frog and DigiFrog.

This is a good news for Grasshopers, frogs, rates, mice and guinea pigs which are the most commonly dissected animals in schools.



North-Rhine-Westphalia (Germany): stop of tail docking on pigs for 2016

Yesterday, the Ministry of Agriculture of the German Land North-Rhine-Westphalia signed an agreement with two farmers' associations to stop routine tail docking on pig up from 2016.

Up to now, only Sweden, Finland and Lithuania have already banned this painful practice. 

More information in the press relase of PROVIEH : 140225_Campaign success for PROVIEH


EU Commission has launched a survey on costs and benefits of ending surgical castration of pigs

DG SANCO has commissioned the Food Chain Evaluation Consortium (FCEC) to undertake a study of the costs and benefits for pig meat production when implementing alternatives to surgical castration of male pigs in view to estimate the costs and benefits of ending surgical castration of male pigs by 1 January 2018 in the European Union.

Link of the survey: