For the first time in the almost 30-year history of the association, the Managing Board of the European Pig Producers (EPP) e.V. met from 13-15 March 2018 in Finland. In addition to working through the agenda, a visit to a pig farm and a large slaughterhouse and consulting company were scheduled. As a result, the members of the managing board were able to familiarise themselves with the special aspects of pork production in Finland "from farm to fork".
Curly tail as No. 1 animal welfare indicator
Due to its climate, the population density and the basic conditions, Finland cannot be compared 1:1 with countries like Germany, the Netherlands or Belgium. Nevertheless, pig farmers can also learn from their Scandinavian colleagues, and therefore the members of the managing board have also taken many impulses back home with them from this meeting EPP President Gert van Beek from the Netherlands thanked the Finnish colleague from the managing board, Taru Antikainen, for her openness and willingness to open her company for her colleagues - by no means a given in times of raging African swine fever.
Of course, one of the central questions was how the Finns "carry through" the curly tail up to slaughtering. Taru Antikainen makes no secret of this, as she's contributed to answering this question in various EU committees for years: Optimum climate and adapted feeding in all phases of animal husbandry, sufficient space, consistent animal monitoring, site hygiene and robust genetics play a decisive role for her. It's primarily a matter of minimising the stress level for the animals. In her opinion, completely new barn systems are not necessarily required for this purpose. Partially slatted floors with liquid feeding function very well when the specified points are observed, as the Antikainen farm shows.
Pig Production in Transition - EPP Congress from 05-07 June 2019 in Landshut, Germany
After 2003 in Dresden and 2011 in Münster, this year's annual meeting of the European Pig Producers (EPP) will take place for the third time in Germany. The organiser is the German Association of the European Network for Pig Farmers (Deutscher Verband des europäischen Netzwerkes für Schweinehalter). Through the congress location in Landshut, this time the particular focus during the farm and industry visits is on the special aspects of Bavarian pig farming. However, as part of the three-day conference programme, the current basic conditions for pig farmers in Europe are also examined. The general topic is therefore "Changing pig production", however many farms must subject themselves to a change of this kind to remain competitive in future. Not only globalisation and digitalisation, but also climate change and consumer behaviour change the basic conditions, and with them also the possibilities for development. Recognised speakers will name the challenges and show the opportunities. Interested practitioners can obtain information and register for the 2019 EPP Congress at www.pigproducer.net.