MICRO PIG HEALTH AND WELFARE POLICY
LEGAL ASPECTS OF PIG HEALTH AND WELFARE
The welfare of our Micro/Miniature Pigs is of paramount importance to us. Firstly, because all of our micro pigs are our beloved pets and are never used for food production. Secondly, because we follow strict regulations concerning the Health and Welfare of pigs set out by the various pieces of European and UK Legislation.
We are very proud to be one of the first Licensees in our county (SURREY) to be granted the new KEEPING OR TRAINING ANIMALS FOR EXHIBITION LICENCE (LICENCE N0: 19/00011/BOARD) which became mandatory for anyone thinking of keeping animals for exhibition, under the new ANIMAL WELFARE ACT (2006) (LICENCING OF ACTIVITIES INVOLVING ANIMALS) (ENGLAND) REGULATIONS 2018, KEEPING OR TRAINING ANIMALS FOR EXHIBITION.
The New Regulations make strict provisions in the areas of suitable environment, housing and bedding, monitoring of behaviour and training, protection from pain, suffering, injury and disease, social interactions between animals as well as animal handling and interactions. Other important areas covered are the provision of suitable diet and exercise, storage and dispensing of medication, emergencies and isolation procedures, insurances and animal movement amongst others.
As part of the Licence agreement we are required to keep Operational Procedures for Health and Welfare Monitoring, Feeding and General Husbandry Procedures and Movement and Training Procedures to name but a few. In addition, we are frequently inspected by our Regulatory Council, The Trading Standards and the Animal Plant Health Agency (APHA) to ensure we comply with all the relevant Regulations and maintain very high standards of our micro pig Health and Welfare.
GOING BEYOND THE GOVERNMENT’S PIG WELFARE RECOMMENDATIONS
Moreover, it is our endeavour to go above and beyond the recommendations for pig welfare set out in the CODE OF RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE WELFARE OF LIVESTOCK (PIGS) (DEFRA, 2003) and the NEW PIG KEEPERS GUIDE SMALL SCALE PRODUCTION (AHDB, 2019). The Codes cover a number of areas of pig husbandry and welfare and highlight many legal requirements set out in the Welfare of Animals (Transport) Order 1999, Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) Regulations 2000, Transport of Animals (Cleansing and Disinfection) (England) (No2) Order 2000 and Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) (Amendments) Regulations 2003 amongst others.
In addition, we are embracing the new DEFRA (2019) Pig Welfare Code recommendations for the highest standards of pig welfare in the UK, which is coming into effect in 2020. Although this Code is inteded for farmed pigs, we would like to apply some of the points to our own pet pigs to continue to improve our on farm health monitoring.
OUR MICRO PIG WELFARE DURING TRANSIT
Maintaining micro pig welfare during transit is of paramount importance during movements ensuring the animals have a comfortable ride to a destination and are not stressed upon arrival or during loading and unloading. To achieve a high standard we have gained a City and Guilds Certificate of Competence for Drivers and Attendants Pursuant to Article 17 (2) of COUNCIL REGULATION (EC) NO 1/2005 for the transport of PIGS by gaining the NPTC Award in the Transport of Animals by Road (Pigs).
Based on the above qualification, we were able to apply for the ANIMAL TRANSPORTER AUTHORISATION (COUNCIL REGULATION (EC) NO 1/2005 (ARTICLE 10), enabling us to transport our micro pigs for journeys up to 8 hours.
In addition, we hold Risk Assessments as part of our Health and Safety Policy, Public Liability Insurance and current DBS (former CRB) Certificates.
On a day to day basis, maintaining our micro pig wellbeing comes naturally to us. Having a background in Animal Studies and Veterinary Medicine (Natasha and Maria are fully qualified Veterinary Nurses of more than 20 years combined clinical experience), ensures that our piggies’ health, happiness and wellbeing are always our top priority. More information on our animal care experiences can be found on About Us page of our website.
OUR MICRO PIGS ARE OUR BELOVED PETS
Our piggies are first and foremost our pets. Understanding micro pig natural behaviour and instincts informs the care we provide on a daily basis. The pigs’ most favourite thing to do is to forage for food all day long! We always ensure that the animals have plenty of rooting material to preoccupy their inquisitive minds and to prolong their foraging experience.
Behavioural enrichment is a concept we fully support which prevents boredom and unnatural behaviour which can indicate stress. We have gone beyond the recommendations stated in the new AHDB (2018) Environmental Enrichment for Pigs Guide with regards to improving the pigs’ environment. Stressed animals are more likely to succumb to a variety of illnesses as their immune systems, becoming supressed, cannot provide adequate protection against pathogenic microorganisms which are present all around us. Stressed animals are not only more likely to become ill, they become unhappy too.
ENRICHMENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR OUR MINIATURE PIGS
With this in mind, we love to provide our miniature pigs with as much straw and woodchip as we can. Lining the piggies’ pens with plenty of fresh clean wood chip allows the animals to root around satisfying their most natural behaviour. Scattering the food all over their pens, rather than feeding from a trough, also ensures they take longer time to find it, which preoccupies them and keeps them happy.
In addition, we actively collaborate with local grocery stores who freely supply us with nutritious fruits and vegetables for our piggies, which they get on a daily basis. Eating a varied diet ensures the micro pigs get not only all the necessary nutrients and micro nutrients for good health, but also receive satisfaction from eating a number of different foods each day. During the hot weather our pigs also get giant fruit lollies, which they absolutely love!
To continuously stimulate our miniature pigs’ brains and to further prevent boredom, we actively engage our animals with training. All our piggies train in accordance with the AMPA Mini Pig Therapy Pet Certification Programme in addition to our own programme which we developed from experience of training pigs. Engaging with the animals on a daily basis improves their learning ability and increases their intelligence. Because the pigs love to learn and work for food, our tailored activities and positive training methods help to keep the animals happy and well entertained. There is more information about how we train our micro pigs on our News and Education Page.