§ Mr. Teddy Taylor
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what action he has taken over the past five years to reduce the proportion of pig farmers employing dry sow and tether stalls; and when he expects the use of such stalls to be extinguished.
§ Mr. Donald Thompson
The Government's welfare code for pigs, revised in 1983, strongly recommends the use of alternative systems to the dry sow and tether stall for the housing of sows and gilts. The Ministry, through the Agricultural Development and Advisory Service, has encouraged farmers to use alternative systems and has led the industry in developing and promoting the computerised loose housed feeding system. The Farm Animal Welfare Council has recently completed a review of pig production systems which makes a number of recommendations to ensure that future trends in housing the dry sow are away from the use of stalls and tethers. We are currently consulting interested parties on the report and no decisions will be taken until their comments have been fully considered.