19 Oct 2010

Pig welfare code recommendations ready

6:01 am on 19 October 2010

The National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee has finalised its recommendations on a new welfare code for pigs and will send them to the Agriculture Minister this week.

In the draft code it released earlier this year, the committee recommended restricting the use of farrowing crates to four weeks from the end of this year and sow stalls to four weeks after mating from 2013, with a complete phase-out of stalls and crates by 2017.

Most of the more than 300 public submissions it received on the draft code supported banning the use of stalls and crates.

The pork industry is concerned that tougher restrictions on the use of those devices might put it at a competitive disadvantage with overseas producers with less stringent welfare standards.

Committee chair John Hellstrom says the report going to the minister takes account of public submissions and has also been peer-reviewed.

But he says the final decisions on the code rest with the minister, who's expecting to make them by Christmas.