Industry Focus

Husbandry

Model Code of Practice

The Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Pigs outlines minimum standards for the welfare of pigs on farms. The Code provides a foundation for animal welfare legislation, and has been regulated in each state, making it legally enforceable.

The Code is intended as a guide for all people responsible for the welfare of pigs under both intensive and extensive systems. The Code emphasises that, whatever the form of husbandry, managers, and others responsible for the day-to-day needs of pigs have a responsibility to care for animals under their control. It details the responsibilities of those involved with the care of pigs, including their accommodation, food, water and special needs.

You can order a booklet version of the Model Code of Practice from the CSIRO, or download a free PDF version here.

 

Companion Handbook to the Model Code

APL has created a Companion Handbook to the Model Codes. This provides a practical guide for producers, government regulators and industry stakeholders to interpret and implement pig welfare standards, and good pig welfare practices, on commercial pork farms in Australia.

It also contains references to other useful supporting information and technical references.

Companion Handbook to the Model Code

Land Transport Standards

The Land Transport Standards aim to ensure good welfare practices for all livestock journeys, including all pig movements. These standards cover

  • Planning and preparation for transport
  • Time off water
  • Fitness to load

These standards are being regulated into law in each state and territory. They are currently in force in South Australia, Tasmania, New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland.

For more information about these standards, please view the link below.

Land Transport Standards

 

Stockperson competency

The most important factor for ensuring good animal welfare is stockperson competency. All stockpeople working with pigs are required under state government regulations to be competent to maintain the health and welfare of the animals in their care, or under the direct supervision of a competent stockperson.

Stockpeople are expected to have either completed training units in, or completed a recognition of prior learning process, in the following areas:

  • Move and handle pigs
  • Care for health and welfare of pigs
  • Observe enterprise quality assurance procedures OR Comply with industry quality assurance requirements [nb: choice here depends on enterprise requirements.]
  • Comply with animal industry welfare requirements
  • Contribute to OHS processes.
  • Administer medication to animals
  • Implement animal health control programs
  • Euthanase Livestock (optional, however at least one person on each farm must hold this unit).

Supervisors are expected to have a Certificate 3 in Pork Production.

For more information on training requirements for stockpeople please go here.

Elective Husbandry Procedures

Castration

Australia is one of the few countries that does not routinely castrate all male pigs. In some situations, castration is a necessary management practice for production to meet the consumer requirements. Castration prevents the development of a number of undesirable flavour and odour characteristics of the meat that are rejected by consumers.

New technologies are enabling farmers to avoid physical castration in some situations through the use of a vaccination against boar taint. Pigs that are not castrated are sent to market before they reach sexual maturity.

Ear notching

Ear notching is one of a number of methods utilised for the identification of pigs and as such is a common component of on-farm management. It enables a producer to quickly identify the pig to monitor its growth rate. Livestock identification is also important to enable livestock to be traced if there is a disease outbreak – providing further assurance to our food quality.

Teeth clipping

Teeth clipping is a practice to prevent injury to litter mates and udders of nursing sows.

Care of the Compromised Pig

APL has developed a new manual to assist producers – “Care of the Compromised Pig”. It is important that compromised pigs are identified early and treated appropriately, to improve their health and welfare, reduce their suffering and increase their chances of recovery.

This is a producer’s guide to the care and management of compromised, sick, or injured pigs to:

  1. Help anyone who cares for pigs to identify and assess sick or injured pigs that may be considered “compromised” and make responsible decision about their care and management.
  2. Help ensure “compromised pigs” receive appropriate care and management that meets industry and government welfare standards.

The manual is provided in four sections, offering in turn a general overview about care and management, information on assessing groups of pigs, guidance on dealing with specific conditions, and a discussion on euthanasia considerations and methods.

Care of the Compromised Pig

If you have any questions please contact Jessica Edington on 02 6270 8832 or jessica.edington@australianpork.com.au.