Bijdrage verzoek­schrif­ten­com­missie over het couperen van biggen­staarten

2 december 2014

Anja Hazekamp (PvdD): President. Routine tail docking in pigs is absolutely cruel and painful. I want to thank the petitioners for drawing attention to this subject over and over again, to make sure we don’t forget these animals. Tail docking can be prevented. We heard the petitioners mentioning that tail docking is done because of tail biting, and tail biting is a result of the way we keep our animals in the intensive livestock farming system. Instead of changing these systems and making sure the animals have better lives, we further intensify these stables and don’t act in any way.

That is not what pigs want. I can assure you, pigs want to be outside. They want to roll in the mud. They want to be together and they don’t want to bite each other’s tails. They can’t show this behaviour in the intensive farming systems in Europe, but tail docking is not the solution. We should change the system.

In the Netherlands, recently a proposal from the Party for the Animals was accepted to end – finally – tail docking of pigs. It is no longer accepted that tail biting is used as an excuse for tail docking. Although the Commission says that better legislation for animal welfare is on the way – that they are working on an Animal Welfare Framework Law - I say: we have been waiting for a long time for this Animal Welfare Framework Law. Although better legislation for animal welfare in general is not only urgently needed for pigs, but also for all other animal species in Europe. We are waiting for a long time already.

The pigs are even waiting longer for proper enforcement of current legislation. They have waited already for twenty years and I think it is time now to give them the life they really deserve. They need our compassion now.

I have one more remark: the European Commission knows that a majority of Member States is not in compliance with the pig’s directive and the ban on tail docking. After twenty years of systematic violation of this directive, it is time to act. The Commission needs to start infringement procedures.

The Lisbon Treaty says that animals are sentient beings. These sentient beings need our help. The European Commission has an obligation, as a guardian of the treaties, to show real compassion with these pigs and all other animals, instead of further intensification of the system through agricultural subsidies. Thank you.

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