Teeth and Tails: Tail docking & biting
Under certain circumstances, it is legally permitted to dock pigs’ tails, but is illegal to carry out routine docking. It should only be done where there is evidence that injuries to other pigs’ tails have occurred and as a last resort, when environmental and management measures to prevent tail biting have failed.
Tail biting is an undesirable behaviour that can occur in any group of pigs. It can spread quickly in pig pens once it has started and can have devastating effects. Tail biting negatively affects the welfare of pigs because it can lead to painful tail injuries, infection, spinal abscesses and lameness.
Risk factors for tail biting:
- Inappropriate ventilation
- Insufficient enrichment
- Health problems
- Competition for food/drink