PHWC to create industry-led pig animal welfare guidance

New guidance to help pig producers comply with legislation is to be drawn up by the Pig Health and Welfare Council (PHWC). 

Similar to the poultry sector, the PHWC Welfare Sub Group is taking the lead in creating new guidance to replace the existing guidance which, in some cases, is more than 10 years old.

The underlying legislation on animal welfare is not to change. The move has been made by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) which is in the process of shifting responsibility to the industry.

National Pig Association (NPA) chief executive Zoe Davies, who is leading the drafting, said: “It is important to stress that it is only the information for producers which is to be changed and updated, not the legislation, which will all remain in force. An advantage of industry-led guidance is that it can be presented in a more ‘farmer-friendly’ way in terms of the language used and also non-statutory guidance can be more easily updated than statutory guidance.

“The industry requested the continued involvement of Defra to ensure new legislation and its interpretation was included. This code will demonstrate that the pig industry takes responsibility for delivering good welfare and raising overall welfare standards.”

Once the guidance has been developed, it will be subject to a consultation, allowing all interested parties to play an active role in its preparation.

Last month it was announced that the British Poultry Council would publish guidance for the poultry sector as part of a move towards “industry-led” guidance. The cattle and sheep industries are expected to follow shortly.

A British Meat Processors’ Association spokesman said using industry-led guidance made sense. “High animal welfare standards are a top priority for all our members. It is vital that the codes are kept up to date and it has been clear for some time that Defra lacks the resources to update the codes on a regular basis leading to the possibility that they will become outdated and therefore of limited use to anyone in future.

“We believe, therefore, that it is entirely sensible for the industry to put in place its own resources to manage and update codes, albeit on a non-statutory basis.”

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