SAPPO GUIDELINES

This section provides general information and guidelines on pork production in South Africa. The information provided includes legislation, animal welfare standards, biosecurity practices among other objectives.

WELFARE

ANIMAL IDENTIFICATION

BIOSECURITY

ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP

WELFARE

Preamble

This code of practice is a statement of intent by the South African Pork Producers’ Organisation with the assistance of the Pig Veterinary Society.

It is intended to be code of conduct in husbandry practices on a pig farm and not to supersede or contradict current welfare legislation concerning the care and handling of pigs.

Furthermore, the adoption of SAPPO’s Recommended Biosecurity measures is strongly encouraged to reduce the risk of diseases entering a farm which would cause unnecessary suffering.

Introduction

This code is based on the knowledge and technology available at the time of publication. The code is a dynamic document which will be reviewed on a regular basis. It does not replace the need for common sense and experience in the husbandry of animals

The code is based on the five freedoms of Webster, namely:

  • Freedom from thirst, hunger and malnutrition
  • Freedom from discomfort
  • Freedom from pain, injury and disease
  • Freedom to express normal behaviour
  • Freedom from fear and distress

Sow Housing Definitions

Globally definitions for sow housing systems differ markedly and are often confusing.  The following definitions are therefore recommended to be included in the SAPPO Welfare code:

Sows are housed in pens, either in groups or individually, for the last eight weeks of pregnancy until they are moved to farrowing accommodation. I.e. spend a maximum of 8 weeks in gestation crates

Sows are housed in pens, either in groups or individually, for the last twelve weeks of pregnancy until they are moved to farrowing accommodation. I.e. spend a maximum of 4 weeks in gestation crates

Sows are housed in pens, either in groups or individually, and not in conventional sow gestation crates from within 24 hours after insemination until they are moved to farrowing accommodation.

Breeding sows are kept outside in fields on soil with shelter available for protection from the weather during pregnancy until they are moved to farrowing accommodation.

Breeding sows are kept outside in fields on soil with shelter available for protection from the weather during pregnancy and provided with basic huts for farrowing outside and to nurse their litter

Stockman ship, Husbandry and Healthcare

Stock workers and owners must be appropriately trained to handle pigs and perform routine procedures in a manner which is hygienic and causes minimum discomfort.
  • Pigs must be moved in a calm organised manner. The use of electric prodders or any other objects that could cause injury or distress to pigs is strictly forbidden.
  • Pigs may not be lifted by an ear, tail or fore limb unless their weight is supported. Suckling pigs may be gently lifted by a back-leg, post weaning pigs may not be lifted by a back-leg alone.
  • All pigs must be inspected daily for signs of illness, injury, bullying, vices and distress
  • Sick or bullied pigs must be given appropriate veterinary attention
  • Adequate light must be provided to be able to see pigs at any time

Effective procedures

The following may be performed by trained and competent stockmen
  1. Castration of male pigs may be performed up to the age of 7 days. Any piglet over 7 days old may not be castrated except by a veterinarian with the use of an anaesthetic.
  2. Tail docking may be performed up to 7 days of age and no more than half the length of the tail may be removed.
  3. Tooth clipping is not approved as a routine and may only be done where damage to sows udder and/or siblings occurs within 7 days of birth.

All surgical interventions performed on the farm should be protected against infection by:
  • using clean & disinfected instruments,
  • cleaning the skin of the scrotum or tail or wound, and
  • spraying or painting the wound with an anti-bacterial spray or solution.

  1. Intramuscular or subcutaneous injections may be done by trained personnel.
  2. Marking of pigs with tattoos, ear tags or slap marks is allowed. Slap marking may only be done with an instrument specifically designed to slap mark pigs. Personnel must be trained in the art of slap marking especially not to use excessive force so as to avoid bruising pigs.
  3. Ear notching by trained personnel is allowed up to 7 days of age.
  4. Semen collection and artificial insemination may be done by trained personnel.
  5. For pregnancy testing and the measurement of back fat in live pigs, only non-invasive and painless methods such as the use of ultrasonic equipment are permissible.
  6. Superficial wound treatment, claw trimming and injury care may be done.
  7. The breaking, sawing or cutting of boars’ teeth/tusks is not allowed except if performed by a veterinarian with appropriate anaesthesia.

Euthanasia

  • Euthanasia must be performed on pigs that are suffering unduly and whose chance of full recovery from disease or injury is unlikely.
  • Responsible personnel should be trained to euthanize pigs by effectively stunning (rendered unconscious) pigs without undue distress or pain.
  • Table below indicates the approved methods for stunning pigs:

  • All animals stunned must be bled out immediately (within 60 seconds) using a sharp suitable knife to ensure death without recovery to a state of consciousness.

Housing

Housing must be designed to:
  • Always provide well ventilated environments with appropriate comfortable temperatures
  • Provide accommodation for sick or bullied pigs: Isolation facilities must be provided for sick/bullied pigs

Sow housing during gestation

  • Sows may be housed in individual stalls from weaning to service.
  • Sows may be housed in individual stalls for a maximum of the first eight weeks of gestation.
  • Sow stalls must be constructed so that:
    1) They are free of any objects /projections which could cause injury to the sow
    2) When standing the sow’s back must not touch the top bars of the crate, nor should her sides be in contact simultaneously with both sides of the crate
  • Sows must be housed in groups or in individual pens, as from the 1st January 2020 for a minimum of the last eight weeks prior to being moved to farrowing accommodation.
  • Sows may only be moved to farrowing accommodation a maximum of 7 days prior to due date.
  • As from publication of this standard any new pig buildings must provide the minimum group housing or individual pens for a period of 8 weeks in the second half of gestation.
    (New buildings are deemed to be pig buildings for which building permission including EIA permits had not been granted prior to publication of the code)
  • Tethers are not to be used
  • Sows in stalls must be inspected daily for disease, lameness or any other problems and treated promptly and appropriately.
  • Sows in stalls must have easy access to water at all times and must receive food according to her body condition at appropriate intervals.
  • Water systems such as nipples must be checked daily to be in working order
  • Individually penned sows must be able to turn around comfortably and be able to fully stretch out when lying down.
  • Group housed sows must have a minimum space of 2.25 m² per sow
  • Individual pens must be long and wide enough to allow a sow to lie fully stretched out; and wide enough to allow a sow to turn around easily.
  • Group housed pregnant gilts must have at least 1.5 m² per gilt
  • There must be enough feeding space or feed must be spread in such a manner that all sows have access to feed. If automatic sow feeders are used, regular inspection is necessary to make sure that all sows get the opportunity to enter the feeding station. Stock person must also observe for vulva biting.
  • Sows in groups must be inspected daily for bullying, body condition, lameness and any other disease. Sows that are bullied or unable to defend themselves must be removed from the group.

Sow housing during farrowing and lactation

  • Sows may be housed in a crate within a farrowing pen so as to reduce risk of crushing piglets during farrowing and lactation.
  • All farrowing & lactation accommodation must provide protection for the piglets from crushing by sows.
    • A safe creep area with bedding and provision for warmth for piglets must be provided in the farrowing pens with solid floors
    • Heating devices must be placed in such a manner that piglets cannot be harmed or touch any heating devices.
    • Sows must be able to lie down without any restriction to her limbs.
    • When standing the sow’s back must not touch the top bars of the crate, nor should her sides be in contact simultaneously with both sides of the crate.
    • Sows may only be moved to farrowing accommodation a maximum of 7 days prior to due date.
    • Sows may not be confined in farrowing crates for longer than her lactation length and a maximum of six weeks after farrowing.

Boar housing

  • Boars may be kept on their own or in small compatible groups until mature. A boar may be kept with a group of breeding gilts or dry sows, provided bullying does not occur.
  • Individual accommodation for adult boars should have a floor area of not less than 7,5 m2, with the shortest side not less than 2,5 m. The pen divisions should not be less than 1,5 m high, and gates must be secure. If used for living purposes and service purposes, the floor area should not be less than 9m2

Weaner and grower housing

Provision for appropriate partitioning to separate different categories/sizes of pigs, or to divide large numbers into smaller groups to avoid crushing, fighting or bullying.

The following minimum space requirements must be adhered to:

Tables 02-02
  • NB: where no slats are provided, the open drainage/dunging area may not be included in the calculated area to determine whether space is adequate.

Explanatory note

When slats are used pigs can use that area for resting whereas when solid floors are used the dunging area is not available for resting.

 

Outdoor systems

Outdoor pigs must be provided with: 

  • Enclosures should be well-drained with no persistent muddiness other than in wallows.
  • Shelters (including farrowing arks) must be provided which provide shelter from the sun, draughts and must provide adequate insulation from harsh temperatures or inclement weather.
  • Bedding must be provided in farrowing facilities and they must be constructed to prevent crushing of piglets
  • Feeding and watering facilities must be provided to ensure adequate access for all animals in the enclosure. Feeding and watering facilities must also be designed to ensure they remain hygienic at all times. Pigs must have access to clean potable water at all times and nutritional food must be provided daily.
  • Effective fencing to confine and control pigs and adequate handling /isolation facilities for dealing with pigs undergoing routine procedures or which are sick or injured must be provided

Loading and Transport of pigs

To be read in conjunction with the SABS Pig Transport Code

  • Loading ramps and platforms shall match vehicle height and loading gate. Inclines should not exceed 20°.
  • Loading facilities shall ensure that pigs cannot fall between vehicle and loading ramp.
  • Loading and unloading must be done with minimum force. Under no circumstances may prodders of any type be used. Equipment such as pig boards and plastic bags can be used.
  • Whenever possible pigs must be transported during the cooler parts of the day
  • Vehicles shall make provision for:
    • Shading on the top deck with at least 80% shade cloth or better
    • Partitioning to prevent crushing
    • No objects / protrusions that can cause injury
    • Grids: to prevent sliding and injury
    • Sides high enough to prevent pigs jumping off the vehicles
    • Pigs per unit of floor space
Tables 02-03

Loading and Transport of pigs

To be read in conjunction with the SABS Pig Transport Code
  • Loading ramps and platforms shall match vehicle height and loading gate. Inclines should not exceed 20°.
  • Loading facilities shall ensure that pigs cannot fall between vehicle and loading ramp.
  • Loading and unloading must be done with minimum force. Under no circumstances may prodders of any type be used. Equipment such as pig boards and plastic bags can be used.
  • Whenever possible pigs must be transported during the cooler parts of the day
  • Vehicles shall make provision for:
    • Shading on the top deck with at least 80% shade cloth or better
    • Partitioning to prevent crushing
    • No objects / protrusions that can cause injury
    • Grids: to prevent sliding and injury
    • Sides high enough to prevent pigs jumping off the vehicles
  • Pigs per unit of floor space
  • Smooth ride with limited stoppage. Vehicle should only be stopped on level surface
  • Owners/managers must at all times have pre-arranged contingency plans for emergencies such as breakdowns

ANIMAL IDENTIFICATION

The Animal Identification Act, 2002 (Act No. 6 of 2002) replaced the old Livestock Brands Act, 1962 (Act No. 87 of 1962).  The entire country needs to apply with the Act.

How to register an Identification mark

  • All owners must apply for a registered identification mark.
  • Application forms are available at:
    • Extension Offices
    • Magistrate’s Offices
    • Stock theft units of the SAPS
    • The Registrar of Animal Identification.
  • A Once off registration fee needs to be paid
  • A revenue stamp can be bought at the Post Office for the correct amount and pasted onto the application.
  • Post the application to the Registrar and address the envelope to: The Registrar of Animal Identification, Private Bag x138, Pretoria, 0001.
  • All identification marks must be registered
  • The registration is placed on the National Register of Animal Identification System (AIS).

Duties of owners

  • All owners must register an identification mark with the office of the registrar of animal identification
  • Each owner must mark his/her animals in the prescribed manner.
  • All animals of which the identification mark become indistinct or invisible, must be re-identified in accordance with the law.
  • An animal can be disposed of or given away without having been remarked within 14 days, but the owner must provide the new owner with a document of identification.
  • If an owner wants to sell or give away the animal after 14 days of becoming the owner of that animal, they must first mark the animal with their identification mark. They must also provide the new owner with proof of identification.
  • Pigs can be tattooed at the age of one month.
  • Sows should be slap-marked on the shoulder with new owner’s brand mark
  • Marking by means of Tattoo

    • The characters of the tattoo may not be longer than 60mm in height or width
    • The mark may be 1, 2 or 3 characters
    • The characters should be placed next to each other.

There are 6 easy steps to follow when applying a tattoo mark to a pig:

STEP 1

Get everything ready before you start tattooing. You will need the pliers, and the ink.

STEP 2

Get someone to help you. The helper must bring the animal closer and hold it firmly for the tattoo to be applied.

STEP 3

Ensure that the characters are put in the correct positions according to the certificate of registration.

STEP 4

It is important to clean the ears before marking the animals as the dirt and oil of the ears could prevent the ink from filling the wholes made by the tattoo plier.

STEP 5

Press the tattooing pliers until holes appear on the skin.

STEP 6

Rub the ink into holes. The tattooing process is complete.

BIOSECURITY

Basic Biosecurity Guidelines (SAPPO)

Biosecurity can be defined as: “ The implementation of measures that reduce the risk of the introduction and spread of disease agent, it requires the adoption of a set of attitudes and behaviours by people to reduce risk in all activities involving domestic, captive/exotic and wild animals and their products.”  (FAO/ OIE/World Bank)

The Terrestrial Code defines a biosecurity plan as: “a plan that identifies potential pathways for the introduction and spread of disease in a zone or compartment, and describes the measures which are being or will be applied to mitigate the disease risks, if applicable, in accordance with the recommendations in the Terrestrial Code. (OIE 2008b)

Biosecurity measures can be classified into 3 steps as defined by the Terrestrial Health Code

STEP 1: Segregation

Segregation is action of creating barriers to prevent animals and materials that could cause a risk to uninfected animals. Some possible measures include the changing of footwear and clothing for all people crossing the barriers into the unit, and another important aspect is limiting vehicle access.

STEP 2: Cleaning

This is the next most effective step in biosecurity. By cleaning the physical objects properly, you will be able to remove most (all) potential contaminating pathogens. It is important to remember that all materials that need to pass through segregation barriers (whether it is into the unit or out of the unit) need to be thoroughly cleaned.

STEP 3: Disinfection

This is the final step in biosecurity. The Terrestrial Code defines disinfection as: “The application, after thorough cleansing, of procedures intended to destroy the infectious or parasitic agents of animal diseases, including zoonoses; this applies to premises, vehicles and different objects which may have been directly or indirectly contaminated” (OIE2008b).

It is important to ensure that disinfection is performed consistently and correctly to ensure effectiveness. It is important to remember that biosecurity is the final polishing step in biosecurity.

These three steps are included in the recommended best practices for feasible biosecurity practices for different production practices. There are different biosecurity measures for different forms of pig production:

Scavenging pig production

It is very difficult for those who use this production practice to implement good biosecurity because pigs roam freely thereby increasing the risk of contact with possible pathogens. The following are simple measures recommended by OIE that will have a minimum burden in terms of costs and time:
  • Only introduce clean healthy pigs into the herd.
  • Avoid trading sick pigs
  • Avoid swill feeding
  • Dispose of carcasses properly
  • Clean and disinfect shelters used at night when possible
  • Regular appropriate vaccination of pigs.

Small-scale confined pig production

  • Fence the piggery effectively to prevent access by people and animals. If possible, prevent animals being able to dig under the fence.
  • Do not allow other types of animals or pets within the piggery fence.
  • Do not allow visitors to access the farm, if they have been in contact with pigs two days prior to the visit.
  • All visitors should be provided with overalls and boots before entering your farm. Upon leaving these overalls and boots remain on the farm.
  • Do not allow people to eat within the pig buildings. Special care must be taken not to bring pork or pork products into the piggery.
  • Ensure that all vehicles and goods brought into the piggery do not present a risk. Always disinfect vehicles and goods before they enter the piggery
  • Only bring pigs in from a piggery that has a known disease status. That piggery’s health status should be the same or better than your piggery’s status. Never bring pigs from auction facilities into your piggery.
  • Do not feed swill (dead poultry, poultry offal, and animal offal included). The use of vegetables is not a risk but feeding meat products to pigs is very risky.
  • Dead pigs must be disposed of in such a way that they do not pose a possible source of disease to pigs outside of your piggery and are not used for human consumption.
  • Be vigilant and diligent. If the possibility exists that doing or allowing anything in your piggery may pose a disease risk, rather err on the side of caution.

Large indoor farms

  • It is recommended that larger farms above 200 sows should use the compartment system.

ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP

Pork producers should always consider the environmental impact of their actions. The biggest direct impact by piggeries to the environment is around wastewater handling and processing.

It is important to dispose of wastewater and dead pigs in a manner that prevents pollution of water resources.

Hazardous waste (needles and empty containers) should also be disposed of in the correct manner.

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