New Victorian pig welfare standards compulsory

New pig welfare standards have been introduced into Victoria and apply to all people involved in pig farming including stock handlers, supervisors, managers and piggery owners.

The Victorian Standards and Guidelines for the Welfare of Pigs, commonly referred to as the Pig Welfare Standards, were adopted in December 2011 under the new Victorian Livestock Management Act 2010.

Developed in consultation with industry and welfare groups, the Pig Welfare Standards will replace the 2007 version of the pig code. The previous pig code no longer applies.

Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Principal Veterinary Officer David Champness said all people involved in the Victorian pig industry should read the standards as they were compulsory and enforceable under the new Livestock Management Act.

“Having a legally binding standard will assist the pig industry in meeting consumer and community expectations of good on-farm animal welfare and in marketing their product,” Dr Champness said.

“Failure to comply with the welfare standards will be an offence with potential court penalties applying for breaches.”

Dr Champness said the welfare standards detailed the minimum requirements of pig management practices and tasks, while the guidelines were recommended practices to help producers achieve desirable welfare outcomes and complement the standards.  

“While it’s not the intent of the legislation to encompass animals kept as pets, the standards are applicable to hobby farmers who keep a few pigs for the purposes of primary production,” he said.

The Livestock Management Act allows livestock operators to demonstrate compliance with the standards through participation in approved industry quality assurance programs such as the Australian Pork Industry Quality Program.

Producers in an approved industry quality assurance (QA) program will be deemed to be complying with the standards and will not require additional welfare inspections or administrative paperwork.

Pig producers not in a QA program are encouraged to explore the benefits of an industry QA program.

The Pig Welfare Standards can be found on this website or a hard copy can be obtained by contacting the DPI Livestock Identification Helpline on 1800 678 779.

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