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DG Sante report shows almost 100% of pigs reared in Italy are routinely tail-docked, in disrespect of EU law

Photo credits: Andrzej Skowron

In violation of the Pigs Directive 2008/120/EC, tail-docking is still routinely carried out in all European Union’s Member States, with the exception of Sweden and Finland. The Italian audit is the latest in a series carried out by DG SANTE and whose results are discouraging as they show the complete lack of enforcement of the Pigs Directive on the part of the main European pig-producing and pig exporting countries.

The audit report of the European Commission about actions undertaken by the Italian competent authorities to prevent tail biting and to discourage the routine tail docking of pigs concludes that the Italian government has not taken effective actions to enforce the provisions of the Directive. The available financial and technical instruments to improve the situation are not used, and there is consequently no official push towards better compliance.

The central competent authority estimates the incidence of tail-docking in Italy is almost 100%.

The audit was carried out in November 2017 and consisted of meetings with competent authorities and farmers’ representatives, as well as visits to two farms and one slaughterhouse.

This reports comes after Europe-wide media attention over animal advocates’ shocking disclosures on living conditions and handling practices faced by pigs in Italian pig rearing for Parma Ham production.

The case of Parma Ham production is emblematic of a much more diffuse lack of enforcement of existing pig welfare legislation that should urgently be addressed. This is why Eurogroup for Animals and its member organisations exposed the squalid living conditions and illegal handling practices faced by pigs throughout Europe as part of its EndPigPain campaign.

Read our comments on the audits in the NetherlandsSpain, Denmark and Germany.

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