Tell the Commission: Enforce the Law – Protect the Pigs

Between March 2013 and March 2014, 475,576 people signed our petition calling on every EU Agriculture Minister to ensure that their country complies fully with the EU Pigs Directive.

But for this petition to be taken seriously we must also get the backing of the highest power in Europe – The European Commission. Will you help?

Hope in Brussels

A message of Hope: an incredible 475,576 signatures were hand-delivered to Agriculture Ministers in Brussels, demanding protection for EU pigs.

The EU Pigs Directive, was designed by the European Commission to ensure pig welfare standards through:

  • banning the permanent housing of sow in stalls
  • ensuring pigs have straw or other materials to root in and explore
  • ending the routine docking of pigs’ tails

Whilst some progress has already been made on the sow stall ban, at least 235,000 pigs still remain illegally confined in sow stalls. And, the routine docking of pigs’ tails and housing of pigs in barren environments are still widespread.

But, with your help we can finish what we started and get the Pigs Directive properly enforced. Please join us now in calling the European Commission to take our petition seriously.

Whether you signed the petition or not, please act now by sending a message urging Europe’s most powerful leaders to enforce the Pigs Directive and remind Member States of their duties to protect pig welfare.


UPDATE: The European Commission has asked us to place their reply to our supporters’ emails on our website. You can read it here.

Their reply is appalling in its refusal to recognise the Commission’s responsibility as Guardian of the Treaties to ensure that EU law is respected in all the Member States. The requirement for farmers to provide enrichment materials for their pigs and the ban on routine tail docking have been in force for 12 years. We have repeatedly given the Commission evidence of widespread breaches of this legislation but they have failed to halt this law breaking.

We estimate that around 90% of EU pigs are routinely tail docked and that 80% do not receive effective enrichment. In fact these figures are probably even higher. The EU rears 250 million pigs a year. A massive 2400 million pigs* would have enjoyed better welfare if the EU’s pig sector had complied with the laws on enrichment and tail docking since they came into force 12 years ago. The EU pig sector behaves as if it’s above the law and the Commission stands idly by.

The Commission says it’s producing guidelines. This process has been going on for over a year but still the guidelines have not been published. Also, what makes the Commission think that the pig sector, most of whose farmers break the law, will feel obliged to respect guidelines? The Commission needs to take urgent action to ensure that these laws are complied with.


*We calculate this as follows. The EU rears 250 million pigs a year; that is 3000 million since these laws came into force in 2003. At least 80% (probably more) have been reared without enrichment materials and routinely tail docked. 80% of 3000 million is 2400 million.

Take action

Email the European Commission and urge them to ensure that the law is fully implemented, with every Member State taking their responsibilities seriously.

Fill in your details below and click submit to email this message to the European Commission.

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