UK Pig Industry Welfare Training platform launched

The UK Pig Industry Welfare Training platform was launched today (1 March 2022), with the first module focusing on the moving and handling of pigs.

Everyone involved in the care, moving, and handling of pigs on farm needs to complete the training by 31 August 2022 as part of Red Tractor standards.

Georgina McDowell, Technical Manager for Pigs at Red Tractor, said: “Having a professional workforce across UK farms underpins everything that we stand for, and ultimately this training is about reassuring consumers that Red Tractor pork has been farmed with care.

“We have long required producers to maintain training records, but this platform represents a step forward in terms of providing a unified and consistent standard of pig care across the industry.”

Red Tractor’s Pigs Scheme Chair, Stewart Houston, added: “We fully understand that the pig sector faces a difficult time, and this training is a vital part of giving shoppers the confidence to buy British pork.”

Upon successful completion of the training, a certificate will be issued that can be saved for Red Tractor audits and on PigPro, the industry’s online training record. The moving and handling module takes 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete, though delegates will be able to pause and save their progress as they go along.

Rob Beckett, a producer from Yorkshire who has been involved in testing the training with his team, commented: “The feedback that I have received from our stockpeople has all been positive. Every one of them has admitted that they have learnt something, including a couple who have more than 25 years’ experience in the industry. And they have all said that the software is straightforward to navigate and is laid out in a simple format.”

Zoe Davies, NPA Chief Executive, said: “This is a critical part of demonstrating that the standards we all expect within the industry are being met by pig keepers. We know we have many competent stockpeople out there who know exactly what they are doing, and for them, it will be a way of reassuring their supply chain, customers and the public that pigs are being treated in the way they would expect.”

“As pig vets, the welfare of the pigs we look after is a priority,” said Jim Morris, President of the Pig Veterinary Society. “We welcome the launch of this module as yet another way of demonstrably raising the already high welfare standards on British pig farms.”

Jen Waters, AHDB’s Head of Knowledge Exchange (Pork), added: “The pig industry is leading the way in terms of animal welfare, and the launch of a training platform for everyone who works with pigs is another huge step. We hope that producers, as well as consumers, will find its presence reassuring.”

There will be a £10 fee per person per year to complete the training, which will fund the upkeep of the website and any revisions required to the course in the future. However, the cost has been waived for the first 8,000 people who register or for the first six months (whichever is reached first) post-launch.

The online training was developed by AHDB in collaboration with Red Tractor, the National Pig Association (NPA), the Pig Veterinary Society, the Pig Health and Welfare Council, and pig producers. The course and website development costs have been funded by the levy. The moving and handling course is the first module to be released on the platform, with further subjects likely to be released over future years.

Producers can find the training module at ahdbpork.vbms.co.uk/store and FAQs can be found at: ahdb.org.uk/knowledge-library/uk-pig-industry-welfare-training-platform

In spring 2022, we will be asking all eligible levy payers to shape our work and priorities. Your views will help guide what we deliver over the next five years. Have your say on the support we offer your business and the industry. Registration is open until 31 March 2022.

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