In its role as guardian of the Treaties, the European Commission must ensure that Member States enforce EU law within their territories. If adequate enforcement is found to be wanting, the Commission also has the power to take infringement procedures as a corrective measure. The case of Directive 120/2008/EC on the protection of pigs is problematic, as only a few Member States are respecting the ban on routine tail docking, whilst not all pigs are given (adequate) enrichment materials. Twenty-five years after the first EU-wide legal ban on routine tail docking came into force, we are faced with an unprecedented situation that may lead to infringement procedures against more than 20 Member States. This paper describes the various steps that led to the development of the EU law designed specifically to safeguard the welfare of pigs. It lists the numerous efforts (research studies, study visits, recommendations, audits, reports, factsheets, action plans, etc.), undertaken by European decision makers to assist Member States in their efforts to better implement and enforce the relevant rules. Finally, the paper further analyses the current state of play and presents a reflection on possible future scenarios.
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