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«October 2009 SCIENTIFIC COORDINATOR Pierre Le Neindre, Senior research scientist, INRA (French National Institute for Agricultural Research) ...»

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(+++) Numerous studies and measures already in use, (+ +): some studies, (+) preliminary data available but validation required before use, (-): no studies currently available

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In Chapter 2 we defined pain and the concepts related to it and in Chapter 3 we discussed methods of measuring it. Now, in Chapter 4, we aim to identify the main sources of pain in farm animals including the specific issues for each type of production before looking, in the last chapter, at ways of managing pain in animal husbandry. Also, we will analyse for each class of livestock (pigs, ruminants, poultry and fish) the comprehensive list of sources of established or potential pain reported in the literature. This analysis will not include game birds such as pheasants, partridges and wild ducks for which there is very little information to draw meaningful conclusions and which were not part of the expert panel’s terms of reference.

In this chapter we will not only cover the sources of pain associated with the rearing practices of animals but also those related to slaughter, from the transport of the animals up until the time of their being put to death. In addition, we will cover the role of genetic selection in the development of certain painful conditions. We will not be discussing sporadic or unprovoked disease conditions except if their frequency and severity can be related to the conditions in which the animals are reared. However, the way in which they are detected (Chapter 3) and dealt with (Chapter

5) are in no way different and pain linked to these diseases should be handled in a systematic manner. In addition, for some surgical procedures, this chapter will describe in particular the use or not of local anaesthetic during the operation bearing in mind that analgesia may be used postoperatively. Aspects of pre-, peri- and post-surgical anaesthesia/analgesia will be dealt with more thoroughly in Chapter 5.

4.1 Background to the different types of animal production and their regulation

The system of animal production is one of the vital elements in preventing potential pain in domestic animals.

Domestication and then the development of large scale breeding operations have, in effect, given rise to particular practices and activities that have led to known or potential pain and also to pain that is specific to each type of animal production. In general, we will see that populations of animals that have been subject to strong genetic selection specifically for production traits seem to be more susceptible to some health disorders.

The protection of animals within these systems of production is regulated. In general, in Europe, these regulations about animal welfare come from two sources, the Council of Europe and the European Union. The Council of Europe is an intergovernmental organisation of which the European Union as well as its member states form a part. Its permanent committee adopts generalist agreements and clarifies them with specific recommendations. An agreement about the protection of farmed animals was adopted in 1976. Six months after recommendations are adopted they become mandatory for the contracting parties unless they have notified the Permanent Council as to why they are not or are no longer able to implement them. At the level of the European Union, the treaty of Amsterdam (1999) affirmed that animals were sentient beings and that the European Community and its member States were responsible for the welfare of animals. The European commission, or its executive, was made responsible for working out the proposals and how they should be regulated (http://europa.eu/documents/eurlex/index_fr.htm). One general directive establishing the minimum standards for the protection of animals raised on farms was adopted in 1998 (98/58/CE). The texts adopted at the European level are applicable to each member State after being passed into national law for the directives and immediately for regulations.

4.1.1. Pigs There are three major systems of rearing pigs: First, breeders who produce piglets and who have only sows, their piglets and sometimes a few boars for detection of heat. Second, fatteners who buy the piglets and rear them to about 186 days of age for a mean live-weight of around 116 kg. Third, breeder-fatteners who have both breeding sows and growing pigs. There are a few more that 27 000 commercial piggeries who house nearly 500 animals each on average. Virtually all of the sows and fattening pigs belong to breeder-fatteners. There are around 15 million pigs in France of which about 1.2 million are sows. Annual production of carcasses is around 25 million.

Slaughter is done in 182 abattoirs concentrated essentially in the west of France. Almost all production is in 54 Expertise scientifique collective "Douleurs animales" “conventional” piggeries since “organic” piggeries contribute only 0.5% of sows and about 0.2% of pig meat. The amount of quality-labelled pig meat is also small, being only about 2% of production.

Most sows and practically all fattening pigs are housed in closed buildings. During pregnancy, sows are run in groups or are held individually mostly on slatted floors in buildings specially designed for breeding or gestation.

About 10 days before farrowing the sows are transferred to specialised farrowing houses where they are confined in individual pens with slatted floors. When the sows are raised outside, they are not, of course, totally confined but are housed individually in small pens where they have huts for farrowing. Sows are generally run in “batches”, that is, their reproductive cycle is synchronised. This facilitates adoption or “cross fostering” of piglets at farrowing and thorough cleaning and disinfection of the pens between each batch. The piglets stay with their mother until 25 days of age except in “organic” piggeries where they must stay for a minimum of 40 days. At around 30 kg, or 2.5 months, the piglets are transferred into fattening units where they are generally housed on slats in conventional piggeries and on straw in organic or quality-labelled piggeries. Overall, rearing of pigs is very successful from a husbandry point of view because sows average 2.5 farrowings and wean 27 piglets per year. Meat animals are slaughtered at around six months of age with a daily weight gain of nearly 680 g per day and a feed conversion ratio of 2.7 (i.e. 2.7 kg feed for every 1 kg gain in live-weight) between weaning and slaughter. These figures are not available for organic piggeries but are much poorer.

European legislation imposes certain constraints on the housing and conduct of piggeries (directive 91/630/CEE modified by directives 2001/88/CE et 2001/93/CE). Added to these are the constraints imposed by the law for organic piggeries and by the code of conduct for quality-labelled pork. The present set of rules limits painful interventions in the pig industry. So, directive 2001/93/CE forbids all painful procedures outside of those used for therapy, diagnosis or identification. Nonetheless, there are several exceptions (see section 1 of the Appendix).

Thus, tail docking and teeth reduction by clipping or grinding is allowed during the first seven days after birth. Also, castration of male pigs by means other than tearing the tissues, which is forbidden, is permitted up to seven days.

These practices can be performed by a veterinary surgeon or a trained and experienced operator using appropriate means and hygienic conditions. Tails may be docked after seven days of age if anaesthesia using an analgesic is performed by a veterinary surgeon. Teeth clipping and tail docking cannot be carried out routinely but only when there is evidence that the sows’ teats or the ears and tails of other pigs are being injured. In Norway and Sweden the law requires anaesthesia at the time of castration while in other countries like The Netherlands the farmers have committed themselves to using anaesthesia. In these different countries the law or the commitment of the producers has foreshadowed the elimination of castration of pigs in the long term (see Chapter 5). Directive 2001/93/CE also contains a section on nose ringing pigs which is only authorised for out-door rearing systems.

This is to limit the degree of soil destruction due to excessive rooting. In France, there are few sows in out-door piggeries so the effect of inserting nose-rings will not be covered further in this document.

European legislation (CE No. 889/2008) on organic animal husbandry of pigs plans to impose compulsory anaesthesia or analgesia for castration from 1st January, 2012 (articles 18 and 95), regardless of the age of the piglets. In addition, it will forbid teeth-clipping and tail docking, but will allow possible exceptions for reasons of health of the animals (article 33).

4.1.2. Ruminants The number of cattle herds has decreased since the end of the 1960s. Agricultural statistics from November, 2007 fixes the number of farms running cattle at 208 000. The reduction in the number of herds has been accompanied by an increase in the number of animals per herd. In 2007 there was an average of 92 cattle per farm as opposed to only 38 in 1983. Dairy farms and beef herds with more than 30 cows accounted for 87% of milking cows and 79 % of suckling cows. In 2007, in France, there were 19 124 000 cattle of which 3 759 000 were dairy cows (mainly Prim'Holstein, Montbéliarde and Normande) and 4 163 000 suckling cows (mostly Charolaise, Limousine and Blonde d’Aquitaine). The production of beef in France in 2007 rose to 1774 billion tonnes carcass-weight equivalent and the production of milk to 22 229 million litres.

About 50% of heifers are destined to be breeders and these are involved in dehorning. Nine percent of male calves from dairy herds and 5% from beef herds become steers. It should be noted that there are specific regulations for calves.

Expertise scientifique collective "Douleurs animales" 55 The total sheep flock stands at 8.2 million of which there are 5.5 million ewes spread over 75 000 farms. The number of flocks has fallen by 60% in 20 years. Milk production was 256 million litres in 2007. In goats, the total flock was 1.2 million head in 2007, of which 853 000 were does. Dairy goats produced 443 million litres of milk.

The production of goat meat reaching the market, either as young goat or culled does, is relatively small.

The conditional requirements for receiving European aid take into account the concept of “pain” and refer to

recommendations of the Council of Europe that are available on the site:


The main points are:

1. Operations involving the loss of a significant amount of tissue or modification of the bone structure of cattle

should be banned, particularly:

I Modification or mutilation of the tongue, I Dehorning by means other than surgical dehorning,

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2. Some exceptions to the bans proposed in paragraph 1 could include.

I Operations conducted for the purpose of veterinary medicine, I The following operations, which can only be done when in the interest of the animal or if it is necessary for the protection of people in contact with the animal and carried out according to paragraphs 3 or 4 below :

o Destruction or ablation of the horn at an early stage of its development (disbudding) to avoid later

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3. Operations in which the animals are subject to, or risk being subject to, considerable pain should be done under local or general anaesthetic by a veterinary surgeon or other qualified person conforming to the national legislation.

Such operations include castration of cows, dehorning and disbudding of animals over 4 weeks of age.

4. Operations on animals that do not need anaesthesia should be conducted on animals in a way that causes no pain whatsoever nor unnecessary or prolonged stress. Such operations should be done by an experienced person

and include, according to the conditions in paragraph 2, above:

I Destruction or ablation of horn buds in animals under 4 weeks of age, I Inserting nose rings in bulls and cows, I Notching or piercing ears of animals.

4.1.3. Poultry There are seven types of poultry making a significant input to production in France. The genus Gallus is the most common in terms of volume of production as much for meat (broilers) as for eggs (laying hens) but they are also the most common in scientific research so there is much more literature about them. Production figures, per year and per type of bird, released by the National Office for Meat and Dairy Products and by the Institut Technique de l'Aviculture (ITAVI, Technical Institute for poultry production) are as follows: broilers, 705 million; laying hens for commercial eggs, 46 million, of which 20% are reared outdoors; turkeys, 73 million; mule ducks, 44 million; guinea fowl, 28 million; and quail, 25 million. Most of the studies that address the potential sources of pain in domestic birds focus logically on broiler birds and laying hens. There are a few studies with ducks and turkeys but there is practically no information on quail and guinea fowl.

56 Expertise scientifique collective "Douleurs animales" We can distinguish two major types of farming alternatives: cage systems versus non-cage systems and confined versus free range systems. On the whole cage systems are those in which humans do not enter to look after the birds while in the non-cage systems humans are more heavily involved. Each species of poultry is potentially produced in several systems of production but the phenotypes and genotypes are often specifically associated with a particular method of rearing.

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