Report Synopsis

How do we bring the tail back to the pigs - summary

Erik Stegink

At the start of my Nuffield scholar ship I am consciously aware that in the Netherlands we have a societal problem with the intervention of pigs to cut the tails. Almost 95% of all 17 million pigs present in the Netherlands are tail docked. This is to prevent cannibalism in the current farming system.

In the Netherlands pig farmers are only allowed to dock tails of pigs in the first 3 days of their life. If they are older only veterinarians are allowed to do this. This happens for almost 99% with a red-hot knife and thus immediately seals the wound.

To elaborate my study, I had formulated the following research questions:

  1. Under which circumstances and places all over the world is tail docking possible and what are the circumstances and conditions under which this takes place?
  2. Is it possible in Europe to keep pigs with a curled tail?
  3. What are the possible additional costs for leaving a curl tail on the pig without welfare problems intact?
  4. Do the societal organizations find docking tails in pigs an insurmountable problem ?

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