General Pig Care

Australian pig farmers are leading the way in making positive changes in the way pigs are raised.

The Australian pork industry takes animal welfare very seriously. Our farmers have a strong commitment to the welfare of their animals and are constantly working towards improvements in this area. Every year, the industry invests a lot of time, effort and money in researching ways in which pig welfare can be improved and is actively involved in education and training of stock people.

Australian consumers can have every confidence in the animal welfare standards applied by Australian pork farmers. Our farmers all abide by the standards as set out in the Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals (Pigs), 2008. Not only do Australian farmers care about their animals, but also as a food producing industry, Australian pig farmers must pay attention to the welfare needs of their stock to meet food quality and safety requirements.

The single most important factor in addressing the welfare of animals is the husbandry skills of the stock-people.

For all these reasons, the health and welfare of animals is a key concern of pork producers.

Australian Pork Limited (APL) the national body that represents the majority of pig farmers in Australia advocates sound, well researched and proven approaches to swine health and production. Healthy animals whose welfare is carefully respected result in safe, wholesome, high quality pork products.

The Australian pig industry looks to the future as an opportunity to continue to build upon the reputation as leaders in animal welfare initiatives and environmental stewardship.

Animal Care and Health

APL provides farmers with information on animal care issues to ensure the food they produce meets the highest animal welfare, health and food safety standards.

Pig Health Management Plans

Australian pig farmers look after their pigs well. They take into account the animals health, behavioral, welfare and nutritional requirements. This care means that the pig is productive and grows well.

Good animal health is the consideration in successful pig production, as a healthy pig is a happy pig and a productive pig. Diseases in the herd can have a severe effect on not only the well being of the pigs but also on the reproductive performance of the sows and boars, as well as the performance of the growing herd and therefore production and profitability.

Many diseases and health problems can be controlled by good stock management. Veterinarians play an essential role in the maintenance of good herd health. Each farm has a well designed health program which has been put together after extensive consultation with the farm's vet. These health programs incorporate routine vaccination programs as well as prescribed antibiotic treatment for sick animals. Farm health programs also incorporate recording systems and each treatment, whether antibiotic use or vaccine dose, is documented. The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicine Authority (APVMA) register and regulate the use of chemicals and vaccines used in animal production. This organisation regulates the use of all veterinary chemicals and vaccines used in pig production. Monitoring devices such as Withholding Periods (WHP's for the domestic market) and Export Slaughter Intervals (ESIs have been established by the Australian Quarantine Inspection Service (AQIS) are part of the export certification process). Combined with the National Vendor Declaration (NVD) statutory declaration completed on the sale of animals for slaughter prevent any animals treated with veterinary chemicals from entering the food chain.

Following farm visits and after consultation with the manager and farm employees, the farm vet will draw up treatment sheets and vaccination strategies for the different age groups of animals. Vaccines are always used where possible, for disease prevention. These treatment and vaccination sheets are specific to the age class and production group of pig. This way, when a pig does become sick, the animal attendants are able to immediately commence a treatment routine, knowing full well any previous treatment that has occurred with that particular animal. Different classes of antibiotics can be prescribed for animals of different ages. Antibiotics are only used for either prophylactic use (to prevent a disease from occurring) or therapeutic use (to treat a disease once it has occurred).

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Myth: Pigs are dirty animals


Pigs are in fact very clean animals and even dung in a specific area of their pen. Pigs keep separate areas for sleeping, eating and dunging. When hot, they cover themselves in mud because they do not sweat. The mud works as a cooling mechanism.