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THE Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) published its final reports last month in the days before it ceased to exist as a non-departmental public body.
The first report, published on March 21, gives an opinion on mutilations and environmental enrichment in piglets and growing pigs. The second, published on March 28, gives an opinion on lameness in sheep. A third report, also published on March 28, contains details of the FAWC's activities over 2010/11 and outlines the council's ongoing work, which will be passed to a new Farm Animal Welfare Committee for completion.
The FAWC's opinion on mutilations and environmental enrichment covers tail docking, castration, tooth grinding and methods of identification. It assesses the need for these mutilations in terms of the welfare costs and benefits, and the extent to which management or husbandry practices, including environmental enrichment, might reduce the need for them. It considers the number of animals that are likely to be affected by each procedure and the possible welfare implications of each. It also reviews evidence from various sources, including vets and other welfare professionals, and the farming and related industries.
The critical issues to determine, the FAWC says, are:
■ Whether mutilations are necessary, either for precautionary or …
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