EU Fails Again: One million citizens say EU must stop tolerating pig mutilations as cover-up for broken farming system. The EU Says ‘No’ – We Will ‘Set Up A Platform Group’.


Note – none of the pictures or video shown here are associated directly with the Eurogroup article.  WAV


Results in 2019 of actions in 2018 (see data below):


And so we move on into January 2019 – what does the EU say about this ?

Disappointing response to petition calling on the EC to end pig mutilations


The European Commission’s formal reaction to the petition “End Pig Pain”, which asks to phase out  tail docking, tooth clipping and castration, is a blow for pigs all over Europe, where these painful and unnecessary practices are still taking place as a matter of course in many countries.

Commissioner Andriukaitis’ response to the petition of more than 1 million citizens’ signatures, which was delivered in November 2018, recognises the severity of the situation but gives no concrete answer to supporters’ pleas.

Eurogroup for Animals’ 2017 flagship campaign End Pig Pain called on the European Commission and national agricultural ministers to enforce the ban on routine tail docking and tooth clipping of pigs, to put an end to painful piglet castration, and provide better rearing conditions for pigs. Every year millions of male piglets are castrated in the EU to avoid the risk of boar taint, and unnecessary routine tail docking and tooth clipping of piglets continues to happen in many EU member states in violation of existing EU laws.

The campaign’s goal to collect 1 million signatures from EU citizens was reached in autumn 2018, but the EC’s response, received this week, says only that it believes that actions such as the establishment of the EU Platform on Animal Welfare – which brings together Member States and stakeholders from different backgrounds to enhance dialogue on animal welfare issues – will ‘enable the pig sector to gradually reduce the number of tail-docked pigs over time’.

The petition also asked for a specific date for phasing out piglet castration, but this issue isn’t even mentioned in the response.

“For now it seems that the Commission still doesn’t envisage decisive action against Member States that are blatantly ignoring EU legislation,” says Reineke Hameleers, Director of Eurogroup for Animals. “The battle to obtain enforcement of an animal welfare provision that has supposedly been in force for 25 years goes on.”

Source –


WAV Comment – Castrate Commissioner Andriukaitis – even though he never had any bollocks to fight any corner in the first place !

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Above – Gutless, that’s why UK walks !


Actions in 2018

One million citizens say EU must stop tolerating pig mutilations as cover-up for broken farming system

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Source –

The European pig industry routinely flouts welfare laws and public opinion in pursuit of higher profits while member states continuously turn a blind eye. Eurogroup for Animals and a million citizens urge the European Commission to break this vicious circle.

With the unprecedented 16-month pan-European campaign ‘EndPigPain’, Eurogroup for Animals and its 64 member organisations exposed the squalid living conditions and illegal handling practices faced by pigs throughout Europe [1].

‘EndPigPain’, now endorsed by more than a million citizens, calls on national agricultural ministers and on the European Commission to stop all pig mutilations and to ensure proper implementation and enforcement of the EU Pigs Directive.

Ferkel Kastration jpg

The turnout of this campaign shows that European citizens are increasingly aware of the deplorable conditions in which most pigs are reared across the EU, and are demanding a profound change.

At the very least, change will have to start with enforcement of current European legislation on pig welfare. There are approximately 250 million pigs in the EU, which is one of the top global exporters of pig meat. However, pig meat is largely produced in patent disregard of European laws. We are faced with the quite unprecedented situation whereby, with the exception of Finland and Sweden, EU member states are disregarding minimum legal standards for the protection of pigs, and the European Commission is not undertaking corrective measures.

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Above – Male Piglet Castration

This roughly translates, in practice, in more than 90% of Europe’s pigs that end up routinely mutilated (tail docked) because their living quarters are so squalid and barren that intact curly tails – which pigs wag or “swish” just like dogs – become the only available stimulus, and are therefore chewed on by other pigs. Hence, they are cut off to prevent problems [2].

So far the approach of the European Commission with regards to the widespread lack of enforcement of the Pig Directive has been soft, counting on an action plan, study visits, exchange of information and best practices, audit reports, a sub-group in the animal welfare platform to further discuss strategies. We think it’s high time for infringement proceedings, and the success of End Pig Pain adds weight to our requests. This crisis is not only about basic welfare of animals but also about the credibility of EU law.

By massively signing “End Pig Pain”, European citizens also sent a strong signal to their national ministers that painful piglet castration is unacceptable. The surgical castration of young piglets without pain relief is still legal in the EU and is carried out on more than 70 million male piglets every year, in spite of abundant scientific evidence that this procedure is extremely painful.

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Above – Tail Docking


There is now a sense of urgency to move forward and switch to the available humane alternatives. “The well-documented lack of enforcement of the EU Pigs Directive in most member states is a striking example of the inertia of national and EU regulators when strong economic interests are perceived to clash with animal welfare.” says MEP Sirpa Pietikainen, President of the European Parliament Intergroup for the Welfare and Conservation of Animals. She adds, “On surgical castration, currently not covered by this Directive, voluntary commitments have clearly failed. Too little has happened since stakeholders signed the Brussels Declaration in 2010 and committed to phasing out surgical pig castration. Seven years later, those commitments are still little more than good intentions. But there is no excuse for waiting longer: routine painful husbandry procedures must disappear, and pigs must be provided with better care.

What the success of this campaign and the growing interest of the general public for the plight of pigs (and all other farmed animals) should tell us is that it’s time for profound transformation of animal farming. As the science of animal sentience progresses, as the complexity of the emotional lives of animals becomes increasingly difficult to ignore, ethical standards about the way in which we rear animals for food are changing.

Reineke Hameleers, Eurogroup for Animals Director concludes “It is urgent that politicians, decision makers, and farmers heed the demands of civil society and also consider the economic opportunities that a reassessment and advancement in our treatment of farmed animals can offer”.

Painful husbandry procedures such as castration and tail docking – while inherent in today’s pig farming – are completely unnecessary.

Technically and economically feasible alternatives to eventually lead to pain free pig farming already exist and must now be mainstreamed.



[1] Throughout the campaign, investigative reports of animal advocates and EC audit reports across Europe evidenced the terrible living conditions and handling practices experienced by pigs. This is a list of the investigative releases and main press articles covering the issues raised in the campaign:

11/9/2018 new investigation exposes severe abuses on pigs destined for parma ham production

26/3/2018 Six shocking investigations reaffirm systematic cruel and unlawful practices in Parma ham production

9/1/2018 Pig welfare crisis continues: European Declaration on alternatives to painful surgical castration fails to deliver

21/12/2017 ANDA, AVATMA, FAADA: Spanish Agriculture Ministry takes first steps to end pig tail docking

13/9/2017 Europe’s pig sector faces animal welfare crisis

24/8/2017 End Pig Pain photography exhibition at the European Parliament in Strasbourg

4/5/2017 EU citizens act to End Pig Pain

21/3/2017 Pigs forced to live among putrefying pen mates


[2] Throughout the campaign’s duration, the EC’s DG SANTE has released several audit reports evidencing once more the widespread disrespect of the EU legislation on pig welfare and clearly setting down alternatives for addressing these shortcomings. Competent authorities responses were generally unsatisfactory, at best acknowledge their incapacity to address the sector’s disrespect of welfare laws, and at worst inadequately responding  to recommendations made by the EC.

1/10/2018 DG SANTE report shows almost 100% of pigs reared in italy are routinely tail-docked, in disrespect of eu law

10/9/2018 EC audit on tail-docking in germany shows 95% pigs have their tails docked in violation of the eu law

7/5/2018 DG SANTE report finds 98.5% of pigs are routinely tail docked in Spain, the largest pork meat producing country in the eu

16/4/2018 European Commission audit reveals that 98.5% of piglets in Denmark are still routinely tail-docked

12/6/2017 Nearly 100% of pigs still tail-docked in the Netherlands, according to latest European Commission audit


EC expert study visits to Finland, Sweden and Switzerland gathered best practices on how to address the requirements of the Directive on pig welfare.


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