Inspectors of Eyes on Animals participated in a 4-day training course on Pig Signals, run by FarmulaOne (http://www.farmulaone.nl). Participants of this intensive course, which had both theoretical and practical components, came from as far away as Korea and Finland and were all involved in someway with the pig industry (feed company staff, pig nutrionist, farmer and us- NGO inspectors). The aim of the course wass to learn how to read pig "signals" properly, in order to better care for their mental and physical welfare, increase profit and better enjoy working with them.
We visited a number of farms, including a very large, intensive one and 2 free-range ones. We looked for the various signals the pigs were giving, thought about them, and then proposed actions one could take to remedy the problem if necessary. Both core inspectors from Eyes on Animals passed the final test and are now Certified Pig Signals Trainers.
The course was given by Dr. Kees Scheepens, (pig veterinarian and pig farmer; for more info visit: http://www.walnootenwilg.nl/dukeofberkshire.php) and Dr. Marrit van Engen (for more info visit: www.varkensnatuurlijk.nl).
EonA Director receiving Certificate and EonA inspector receiving Certificate
The Duke of Berkshire pigs at Dr. Kees Scheepens farm also had quite the good life! Sows were able to build nests, all pigs had access to mud baths and lots of varied space to forage, graze and root in. Here we also learned about the signals pigs give us when they are content and feeling well (such as lying on their side, making specific grunt sounds, relaxed face, calm but regular breathing, lack of tail and ear biting...).