A number of goals were set at the summit, held in March 2014, which included improving piglet survival rates, finding alternatives to castration for male piglets, and moving towards the loose-housing of sows throughout the whole production cycle.
The meeting had been called by Dan Jørgensen, Danish Minister of Food, Agriculture & Fisheries, with signatories to the agreement including representatives from the DPRC – which is now part of SEGES, leading consumer and animal welfare organisations, veterinary professionals and Danish retailers.
In regards to improving the survival rates for piglets and sows, SEGES/VSP’s planned activities have included the launch of a new advisory process at 30 farms, the launch of a national information campaign in April 2015 to focus on piglet survival, and research into identifying newly-born underweight piglets and how to ensure timely intervention.
SEGES/VSP is currently developing a new pig welfare course for stockpersons, and is undertaking a number of research projects on reducing tail-docking.
Larsen commented: "We recently launched a new information campaign, called ‘Pattegriseliv’, to help ensure that our farmers implement best practice to enhance piglet survival rates, and our pioneering work in developing new systems for ‘freedom farrowing’ has already attracted major interest internationally.
"Our research to find alternative strategies to limit the risk of ‘boar taint’ continues apace – including feed and breeding trials, as well as investigating new selection protocols on our slaughter lines," he said.
"We have also implemented a number of research projects which we hope will lead to new strategies for addressing the risk of outbreaks of tail-biting among our pigs."
The progress report was published at the same time as 400 delegates descended on Copenhagen for a major conference, hosted by the Ministry, to review the latest developments in pig welfare on a global scale.
SEGES was formed from the merger of the former Knowledge Centre for Agriculture and the Danish Pig Research Centre, effective from 1 January 2015.