OTTAWA — The Canadian Pork Council and Canada’s National Farm Animal Care Council have released for public comment rules on pig care that would significantly curtail the use of gestation crates.
The proposed Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Pigs calls for limiting the time a sow remains in a gestation stall to 28 days after the date of last breeding, with an additional seven-day leeway period if needed. It also dictates the size of such stalls so that sows can stand and lie down without touching the sides.
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As it now stands, producers have until 2024 to comply with the rules for existing facilities. All new facilities brought into operation after July 1, 2014, must follow the regulations for gestation crates.
“We have had to tackle several difficult issues in writing this Code. Since it will fall primarily to producers to implement the Code, it is important for producers to review the draft Code and to respond with informed, rational and constructive input,” Florian Possberg, pork producer and chair of the Code Development Committee, said in a statement.
The Humane Society of the United States praised the proposed rules.
Read more: Retailers Move Away From Gestation Stalls
“While Canada, the European Union, virtually every major global food retailer and many of the largest pork producers are taking steps to ensure that gestation crates are relegated to the dustbin of history, some U.S. pork industry leaders inexplicably continue to defend this cruel confinement,” Paul Shapiro, vice president of farm animal protection for The HSUS, said in a statement. “We hope The National Pork Board and National Pork Producers Council will shift gears by helping their industry make the transition to higher animal welfare systems that allow pigs to move.”
The pig code is open for public comment through Aug. 3. Final rules are expected to be released by the end of 2013.
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