In collaboration with the Dutch Young Farmers’ Association (NAJK), GCAW organised a study tour to Sweden for the next generation of Dutch pig farmers.
Sweden has an advanced welfare programme in which tail docking of meat pigs and close confinement farrowing crates for sows and piglets are not permitted, and so provides an excellent environment in which to learn about best practice approaches to a wide range of topics including innovative housing, supply chain, finance, sustainability and regenerative agriculture.
During the week, the enthusiastic group of 17 young farmers met with highly experienced farmers to hear first-hand experiences of transitioning to higher welfare systems. The group also connected with a variety of other stakeholders and experts, including academics at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala, who presented their research into four pig welfare research areas: tail biting; intestinal function and probiotics; behavioural and health benefits of using silage as feed; and group housing of sows.
The tour group also visited GCAW member, IKEA Food Services, in Malmö, where it learned about the company’s aim to connect the entire food supply value chain, including farmers, to improve its work on animal welfare, the environment and public health.
Dr Nathan Rhys Williams, who heads the GCAW Secretariat, commented: “GCAW was delighted to fund and help organise this study tour which I know made a significant impact on the farmers who participated. Beyond the value of being able to witness what good animal welfare looks like first-hand and benefit from interactive learning opportunities, these young farmers have seen the potential of sustainable, higher welfare pig farming and now have a supportive network of colleagues and friends with which to shape the future of Dutch pig farming.”
Further details of this educational trip on pig welfare can be found here.