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Pig environmental enrichment materials

Full title: FRCAW revised opinion on the categorisation of 3 environmental enrichment materials as defined in EU recommendation 2016336
Requested by:
Office of Animal Protection (BPA) - French Directorate General for Food (DGAL) - French Ministry of Agriculture and Food
Date of request: 25/04/2019
Delivery date: 09/05/2019


The FRCAW was asked by the DGAL on 25 April 2019 to provide an opinion on the categorisation proposed by pig producers of three environmental enrichment materials in light of existing scientific and technical knowledge on the subject.

This categorisation was intended to allow the industry to create fact sheets on environmental enrichment materials to be widely distributed to farmers.

Main conclusions of the FRCAW

1. Opinion on straw, hay and fodder racks

  • Investigatory materials distributed in feeders or racks cannot be considered of ‘optimal’ interest but only of ‘suboptimal’ interest.
  • They must therefore be used in combination with other materials.

2. Opinion on the combination of iron chains and soft wood

  • The combination of iron chains and regularly renewed soft wood can be considered to be ‘sub-optimal’ and should be combined with other materials.
  • The combination of iron chains and hard wood, i.e. not degradable by animals, is considered to be of marginal interest. This material should therefore be combined with other materials of a different nature that are at least 'sub-optimal'.

3. Opinion on corn starch

  • Corn starch in compressed form, combined with wood fibres, may be considered to be ‘suboptimal’.
  • Like any other suboptimal material, this material must be combined with other materials of a different nature.