In November 2021 at the General Assembly, the FVE adopted a new position paper on the need to move to more animal welfare-friendly farrowing systems safeguarding the welfare of both sow and piglets.
Farrowing crates were introduced in the 1960s to reduce piglet mortality, but they significantly restrict the innate behaviour of the sow and impair her welfare. There is an urgent need to move towards more welfare-friendly and sustainable husbandry systems, that conserve resources, are environmentally non-degrading, technologically appropriate, economically viable and socially acceptable for farrowing and lactating sows which better safeguard the welfare of both sows and piglets. Alternative husbandry systems are available and in place in various European countries, but some also pose challenges Therefore, sound planning is necessary between the farmer and their veterinarian to ensure the right system and management are chosen. An acceptable (not excessive) transition time needs to be set, potentially with intermediate steps. Support should be given to farmers to achieve this necessary change.