Five producers in Denmark are responding to the imminent arrival of new European Union animal welfare regulations by making a joint investment in a new herd of 5,000 sows.

Their existing sow housing would not meet the EU’s requirement for group gestation that takes effect in January 2013. Rather than doing individual re-fits of these facilities, however, they have decided to put the money into creating a central site for piglet production and will convert their own buildings into grow-finish places.

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The location on a former manor estate of 1,600 hectares was chosen principally because it will allow a pig-free zone of about 3 kilometres around the sow herd for health protection purposes.