The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is the competent authority for the implementation of the EU legislation on pig welfare (Council Directive 2008/120/EC).
Each year, officials from my Department carry out inspections on pig farms to ensure compliance with the provisions set out in the Directive. Farms are selected for inspection based on pre-identified risk parameters, with some random inspections also. Inspections are carried out in a standardised way by qualified veterinary inspectors. Where non compliances are identified, they are followed up on as appropriate to the circumstances.
I have recently announced that the threshold for available funding support for pig and poultry farmers is to be increased in the next tranche of TAMS and will carry some additional aminal welfare conditionality. These proposals are currently being finalised.
My Department has recently launched a new over-arching national animal welfare strategy for animal welfare which includes a commitment to support the development of a high welfare outdoor pig and poultry sector which will initially involve a stakeholder consultation process.