The new pig code of practice, which has proven controversial particularly as it relates to use of gestation stalls for sows, is expected to be ready this spring.
Committee members in charge of developing the code met in late November to consider the 4,700 comments submitted during the public input period.
Committee chair Florian Possberg said in a Dec. 2 news release that “great strides” had been made toward final agreement on the code.
However, specific details on what changes had been made to the draft, if any, will not be publicly released until the final version is published.
Codes of practice are designed to establish national guidelines for the care and handling of farm animals.
The draft code for pigs included a proposed regulation that gestation stalls for sows would be eliminated by 2024. Many pig producers objected to that proposal because it would mean expensive renovations to existing barns with no guarantee of higher prices or payments to producers for making those changes.
“At the end of the day, we cannot and will not carry the freight on this one,” Alberta Pork chair Frank Novak said at the group’s November meeting.
“It needs to be a market issue, and if the retailer wants it and consumers want it, come tell us, pay us and we’ll do it. We can do it better than anyone else, but we can’t do it out of the goodness of our heart.”
Response to the proposed pig code of practice was far higher than for any of the other codes developed or in the process of being developed through the National Farm Animal Care Council.
The final version of the pig code was initially scheduled for release this month but has now been postponed until spring. The process began in October 2010.
The committee developing the code includes hog producers, veterinarians, scientists, animal welfare groups and government officials.