- Housing for animals shall be designed to allow the animal
to behave naturally.
- Housing shall be sufficiently spacious to allow all animals
to lie down in full lateral recumbency at one time and to
- Pigs are active, social animals by nature, and close confinement
in crates is prohibited unless briefly required for vaccination,
feeding, marking or veterinary procedures or in the rare
event that a sow may savagely attack her piglets, and then
only temporarily until the sow is calm.
- Pigs shall have continuous access to pens bedded with
straw or chopped corn stover, or pasture or dirt yards in
which they can root, explore, play or build nests. Substitutes
for straw and corn stover may be used only with the approval
of the Animal Welfare Institute. Straw is the preferred
bedding for farrowing sows and their nursing piglets.
- Even when bedding is not needed for warmth, straw or other
approved material shall be provided to hogs that do not
have continuous access to pasture or dirt. The bedding shall
be provided in quantities sufficient to give the hogs material
in which to play, explore and root.
- Pigs housed outdoors shall have continuous access to shelters
that protect them from the heat, wind, cold or rain. Adequate
straw shall be provided to keep pigs comfortable in cold
weather. In the case of pigs loose-housed in groups in deep-bedded
systems, there shall be sufficient amount of litter to create
a deep litter bed in which composting can start and be sustained
to provide warmth and destroy pathogens.
Type of Farm
- Each farm shall be a family farm, that is, a farm on which
an individual or family member (a) owns the hogs; (b) depends
upon the farm for its livelihood; (c) participates in the
daily physical labor to manage the hogs and the farm operation.
This shall not prohibit networking among family farmers
as long as all criteria listed herein are adhered to by
every member of the network.
- New buildings shall be constructed with windows or openings
that let in daylight.
- The equipment and fittings in buildings and other premises
that house pigs shall be so designed that they do not inflict
injuries or entail risks to the health of the animals. The
fittings and other equipment shall not prevent the animals
from behaving naturally, nor unwarrantably limit their freedom
of movement or otherwise cause them distress.
- Persons who transport live animals shall attend to the
animals and take the necessary steps to ensure that the
animals are not injured or caused to suffer during loading,
transport and unloading.
- Hot prods or electric shocks shall not be used on the
animals. “Boar bashing” shall be prohibited.
- The animals’ living quarters shall be cleaned by
procedures that ensure satisfactory hygiene. The surfaces
of deep litter beds shall be kept dry and be of good hygienic
- Pigs shall be given sufficient space to keep dunging and
lying areas separate from eating areas.
- The routine use of subtherapeutic antibiotics, hormones
or sulfas to control or mask disease or promote growth is
not permitted. The feeding of animal products to pigs is
- Animals shall have a feeding plan that will guarantee
a sufficient, varied and well-balanced diet. Animals shall
have access to their feed as long as is necessary for them
to satisfy their feed requirements. Animals shall have free
access to water.
- In the event a pig suffers accidental injury on the farm,
that animal shall receive individual treatment designed
to minimize its pain and suffering. Ill or injured animals
shall not be transported in the same compartment with healthy
or uninjured animals.
- If the injury is serious enough for the animal to be slaughtered
it shall be euthanized on the farm.
- Skip-a-day feeding shall not be used in this program.
All pigs shall be fed daily and the housing and distribution
of feed shall be designed to minimize competition for food.
- If nose-rings are used for pasture sows, the sows shall
be supplied with straw or similar material which sows can
easily manipulate to build nests. Only one nose-ring may
be used per sow. Nose-ringing is only permitted if, by this
practice, sows gain the freedom of living on pasture.
- On each farm weaning shall take place at a piglet weight
or age that considers the health and welfare of both piglets
and their mothers. This age/weight may vary, depending on
the breed of the sow or gilt and level of milk production,
her age and health, and the health of the individual piglets.
The recommended weaning age is at least 6 weeks, but an
earlier weaning date may be necessary, for example, if the
mother is a gilt of a breed with high milk production and
nursing a large litter. Minimum age of pigs at weaning shall
be 5 weeks.
Growing & Finishing
- Pigs are highly intelligent animals with a strong instinct
to root and explore. Their environment shall provide appropriate
materials with which to fulfill these instinctive behaviors.
A behaviorally appropriate and comfortable environment should
eliminate the need for routine tail-docking and piglets
shall not be tail docked. If tail-biting problems do arise,
farmers shall make every effort to identify and eliminate
the cause rather than resort to routine tail-docking.
- If piglets are to be castrated, it must be done by the
age of 2 weeks by a person proficient in the procedure.
Space requirements for animals that are not free-ranging
on pasture may vary according to the design of the indoor
or indoor-outdoor housing system. The following minimum space
requirements are based on Swedish experience, particularly
experience with housing boars, pregnant sows and sows with
litters in the Swedish Thorstensson and Ljungstrom versions
of deep-straw-bedded pig housing. Farmers wanting to provide
less space than that specified below must consult with the
Animal Welfare Institute for review of housing design before
deviations will be granted to farmers using the Animal Welfare
Institute name in conjunction with their husbandry.
- Boars: 64 square feet per individual (74 square feet if
no separate dunging area is provided)
- Sow and litter in pens:
-- pens with manure gutter - 54 square feet exclusive of
gutter per sow and litter
-- pens without manure gutter - 64 square feet per sow and
- Sow and litter in boxes:
-- 48 square feet per sow and litter
- Sow and litter in group lactation housing:
-- 81 square feet per sow and litter
- Gestating Sows (Individual housing in crates is prohibited;
following requirements are for group housed sows.):
-- gestation and mating - 27 square feet per sow (exclusive
of feeding area)
- Weaned, Growing and Finishing Pigs: Space shall be provided
to allow all pigs to lie down in full lateral recumbency
at the same time. This minimum does not take account of
other needs to move about and socialize and this minimum
may need to be increased if new information warrants an
- The Animal Welfare Institute will provide advice from
veterinarians and experts in pig behavior when needed or
- Farmers in this program will be distinguished by a humane
and conscientious attitude toward the animals in their care
as well as by housing and husbandry standards which meet
Animal Welfare Institute criteria. Recognizing that slight
variations in the methods used to fulfill the above husbandry
standards will exist, it is the goal of the Animal Welfare
Institute that the highest level of husbandry is maintained
at all times, with the possible exception of temporary deviations
when unexpected circumstances arise that are not under the
control of the farmer. A farmer’s extended deviation
from Animal Welfare Institute criteria shall be cause for
withdrawal of permission to use the Animal Welfare Institute
name in conjunction with that farmer’s product.
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permission of AWI.)