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09 February 2023

The recommendations of the European Pigmeat Reflection Group are presented

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The conclusions and recommendations of the European Reflection Group on Pigmeat were presented on January 18th at an event in Brussels chaired by Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski to ensure its sustainability and resilience in socio-economic, environmental and animal health and welfare terms.

The European Commission set up this group in March last year, with the aim of analysing the challenges facing this sector due to the accumulated effects of the pandemic, the slowdown in exports to China, the impact of African swine fever on important European pig markets and, more recently, the escalation of prices of raw materials and inputs and the rise in production costs exacerbated by the war provoked by Russia in Ukraine.

The recommendations of this reflection group on the different aspects analysed in the seven meetings held in recent months are as follows:

Socio-economic dynamics of the sector:

  • Promote cooperation between pig producers and between them and the other links in the supply chain for a better integration of society's expectations on improving sustainability at all levels of the production chain, improving training and knowledge sharing, as well as creating attractive conditions for young farmers.
  • Encourage Member States to use all available CAP tools to make the sector more sustainable. This also includes newly created sectoral interventions.
  • Diversify EU export markets and reduce dependence on few destinations, in particular unreliable partners.
  • Increased valorisation of EU protein sources in pig feed.
  • Promotion of EU quality and production standards worldwide.
  • Better information campaigns on the role of family pig farms and the advantages of short supply chains; better communication by the pig sector on actions towards more sustainable production methods.
  • Awareness raising on organic farming and geographical indications in the pig sector.
  • Raise awareness of food uses and culinary recipes that value less favoured parts of the carcass and encourage retailers to sell more parts of the pig carcass instead of offering only the most demanded parts.
  • Encourage Member States to test and trial different agricultural risk management strategies and tools with the involvement of pig producers at national and regional level.

Environmental and climate challenges:

  • Improve farmers' awareness of the need to adopt more sustainable agriculture, including manure management and emissions reduction.
  • Develop manure processing and more efficient use of organic fertilisers.
  • Design a sustainable framework for manure management for fertiliser purposes.
  • Support local biogas solutions based on slurry, residues and wastes involving not only pig farming but also local communities.

Research and innovation:

  • Improve information and participation of end-users (producers, advisory services, etc.) in research and innovation projects.
  • Accelerate knowledge transfer between farmers, advisors and researchers, making better use of agricultural advisory services.

Animal health:

  • Support efficient biosecurity and feral pig management measures and share knowledge and best practices between Member States.
  • Support the development of vaccines for wild boar and domestic pigs.
  • Increased engagement with third countries, including in international bodies such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), to ensure recognition of the EU's regionalisation principle.

Animal welfare:

  • Apply all available tools, including interventions under the CAP, to improve the animal welfare of pigs with livestock-friendly management practices.
  • Maintain a science-based approach in all regulatory steps related to improving animal welfare.
  • Support actions, including research, to develop economically viable husbandry systems that minimise the use of antibiotics, minimise the immobilisation of sows during insemination and farrowing and allow pigs to be reared with full tails.
  • Promote EU animal welfare standards.