The Danish pig industry has said that it will be ready for the EU ban on the use of traditional stalls for keeping sows during pregnancy, which goes into effect on January 1, 2013, according to reports.

The most recent estimate indicates that around 85 percent of producers are already keeping pregnant sows in group systems, said Asger Krogsgaard, chairman of the Danish Agriculture and Food Council. Of those who have not yet converted, a significant number are already in the final stages of adapting their production and expected to be compliant by the deadline date for the legislation’s introduction.

"We are almost there,” said Krogsgaard at the Danish Pig Conference. “For many farmers, this has involved considerable investment in updating and modernizing their systems. Undoubtedly, it will add to the costs of production for most of these farmers, but many of us have seen the legislation as part of a much wider process, which is continuously improving welfare standards in our production.

“The Danish authorities already run a program of ‘unannounced audits’ of pig producers to ensure that they are adhering to all welfare legislation," said Krogsgaard. "In addition, the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration wrote to all pig herd owners and pig veterinarians to make it clear that any breach of legislation found during their welfare inspection program would be reported to the police. Furthermore, the Danish authorities have made it clear that any producers found not to be complying with the new rules will forfeit their entitlement to support under the EU Single Farm Payment.

“I am confident that as a country, we will ensure that all the requirements of the new legislation are fully met,” he said.