Expert group gets to work

AnnechienMarket parties move forward to 2018 together
On 17 June 2013, an Expert group meeting took place in Brussels on alternatives to the surgical castration of pigs. The Expert group is a follow up to the Brussels Declaration.

The Expert group was called together by the European Commission to discuss the steps that need to be taken to stop castration in the European Union in 2018. The parties represented in the Expert group are jointly responsible for achieving the objective. Chairman of the Dutch Steering Group Stopping castration (Nederlandse Stuurgroep Stoppen met Castreren), Annechien ten Have-Mellema and the research’s project leader Dr Gé Backus are members of the Expert group which the European Commission facilitates. However, the market parties remain responsible for the process’ progress. This means the Expert group is in line with the content of the Brussels declaration that indicates that market parties will voluntarily find solutions enabling a cessation of castration in the EU in 2018.

The Brussels Declaration was signed by 31 market parties. In a number of European countries such as France, Spain, the UK and the Netherlands major steps have already been implemented, but in other countries the process is only just getting underway, sometimes hesitantly. Particularly in Eastern Europe there are no initiatives and no attention is being paid to the subject.

The Expert group’s task is to involve parties across the EU in the process. The group has decided to create work groups for the various fields of attention which will each carry out part of the process. Other work groups will be started for chain and farm management. A work group consisting of researchers will actively collect research results and make these accessible to all parties in the European Union. A Communication work group is going to look into how the process can be implemented as transparently and cooperatively possible, how wider market acceptance can be achieved and how European parties can exchange information.

The Expert group has furthermore agreed that a report will be drawn up annually on the progress of the process as a whole and the results achieved by the work groups. To this end, a small work group will be set up which will compile the reports. The Export group will meet during the second half of October 2013 to discuss the work groups’ initial inventory.