Introduction in English
Sikava - Stakeholders health and welfare register for swineherds in Finland
Sikava is a health classification register for pig farms in Finland. It was founded 2003 by slaughterhouse companies in order to replace the separate health classification systems, which were run by different slaughterhouse companies. Then the most important thing was to separate farms with different health status to organize animal transport logistics. All these classification systems were put together into one voluntary national register, which was named Sikava. It is run by Animal Health ETT. The register works in Internet and it’s website address is www.sikava.fi. Five largest slaughterhouse companies in Finland are members of Sikava. The system covers now over 95% of the swine farms and about 97% of the production.
Health Classification of swineherds in Finland
The system classifies pig farms into three different categories. A farm starts at the basic level and after it has fulfilled certain health criteria, it can be accepted to the national level. For the breeding farms there is also a higher level, so called special level, with stricter health and biosecurity criteria.
The farm joins the system by making a health care agreement with his veterinarian. Only veterinarians, who have attended a one day course organized by Sikava, are allowed to do agreements with the farms. This signed agreement is sent to Sikava´s health class officer, who saves it into the register. After that the farmer can use the register for free, all the costs are paid by the slaughterhouses companies. The participating companies demand their farms to join Sikava in order to be able to check the farm status, which affects the price of piglets and slaughter animals. From 1.1.2011 all companies in Sikava have demanded, that their customer farms must belong to the national level, otherwise they will not buy animals from the farm. With the agreement the farmer allows his veterinarian, slaughterhouse, Sikava`s personnel and the official veterinarian at the slaughterhouse to look at his data in Sikava. Sikava follows Finnish Personal Data Act.
After joining Sikava, the farm starts at the basic level. The farm has to prove to be free of enzootic pneumonia, mange, swine dysentery, atrophic rhinitis and salmonella, the veterinarian has to fill in the Sikava documentation for the first time and the farm has to have a health plan made by the vet to be accepted to the national level. After that, the veterinarian has to visit the farm 4-6 times a year or once in every batch, if it is an all-in-all-out finishing unit. If the vet visit is late more than 7 weeks, the system gives an alarm to the health classification officer, who lowers the farm back to the basic level.
At every visit the vet fills in a special documentation. This form consists of evaluation of the animal welfare and conditions in farmhouse (if it is appropriate for the animals), declaration of freedom of five contagious diseases (enzootic pneumonia, mange, salmonellosis, swine dysentery and atrophic rhinitis) and evaluation of certain symptoms of diseases like cough, diarrhea, lameness etc.. There are also questions concerning mortality at the farm (in different age groups), body condition and amount of shoulder sores of sows. At every visit, the vet has to check the medication data of the farm and inform the system, if he suspects animal welfare problems.
Every farm at the national level must have a health plan, which is checked once a year. The health plan consists of things like routine procedures at the farm (castration, teeth clipping etc.), advice on medication and vaccinations, euthanasia and disposal of dead animals, biosecurity procedures etc. Also the production parameters are checked. Also every farm at the national level must have the biosecurity of the farm evaluated every 12 months using the Biocheck®Ugent scoring system.
Farmers and farms at national level of classification are obliged to keep the medication records in the Sikava system. If the farm veterinarian medicates animals at the farm, he can send this data straight to Sikava via interface from his own computer. Fluoroquinolones or third generation cephalosporins are not allowed in farms at the national level.
Meat inspection data is transferred via interface into the Sikava system from slaughterhouses. This means that data is easily accessible to the farm veterinarian.
Parameters for the responsible pork production were launched in 2011. The Sikava system gathers data of animal mortality and carcass condemnations as indicators of responsible pork production. If any of these indicators exceed certain limits, the slaughterhouse takes the farm into special attention and gives advise how to make the situation better.
Welfare index for pigs was published in 2018 in Sikava. The index is calculated using welfare parameters evaluated during the visits within the last year.
Quality management system
Sikava has got quality management system since 2013 and it covers all the requirements of ISO 9001 standard. Only veterinarians, who have taken part into Sikava education, are eligible to make Sikava contracts with farms. Also veterinary visits are audited by Sikava and Inspecta. This system was given ISO9001:2008 certificate by Bureau Veritas in March 2014 and certificate was renewed by Inspecta in March 2017. The national level of Sikava fills national food quality schemes criteria as described to in Article 22 of Regulation (EC) No 1974/2006 and it is recognized by Finnish Food Safety Authority EVIRA in July 2013.
Further Sikava’s quality management system covers EU best practise guidelines for voluntary certification schemes for agricultural products and foodstuffs (2010/C 34/04).
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