Italy’s swine breeding herd is having severe difficulties meeting the 2013 welfare requirements for group housing for sows.
Over 50% of Italy’s breeding farms still have to convert.
This means that about 1,500 swine farms still have to adjust to the new standards.
As from January 2013, gestating sows will have to be kept in group housing for most of the gestation period.
This means a major reconstruction of the breeding houses and sow spaces.
The figures were recently made public by the Italian association of pig breeders (ANAS).
The association held a poll on animal welfare amongst a selected group of pig farmers.
About 88% of breeders said they want to comply with the new rules, while 12% mainly feel disappointed, like in other EU states.
ANAS representatives believes money shortage is causing the delay. Maurizio Gallo, director of ANAS, said: “The increased costs of production have affected both income and competitiveness, so they lack the resources to adapt to the new animal welfare rules.”
Fedagri-Confcooperative, the most important Italian association of agri-food cooperatives, thinks that the costs will be about €600-€800 per sow place.
Anas representatives said: “There are farms raising up to 500 sows: This drastic renovation will force some farmers to spend to €350,000.”
The fines for violations range from €1,550 to €9,296.
Lorenzo Fontanesi, president of the an association of pig producers (OPAS), and an important farmer in the North of Italy, summarised the feeling among Italian swine farmers when writing his editorial for the magazine ‘Opas InForma’.
He wrote: “We have been fighting to be ready for new animal welfare rules. When will there the rules for the welfare of farmers?”
Source: Argentine Beef Packers S.A.
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