The National Pig Association (NPA) is encouraging its members to invite non-farming acquaintances to look round their farms, taking on the role of “critical friends” and providing a fresh pair of eyes on appearance and welfare issues.
The association has also urged producers to tighten security measures to prevent anti-meat activists from breaking into farms, with all the health and disease problems that such break-ins can cause.
“The vast majority of British pig farmers strive to achieve best-practice at all times and this has earned them a global reputation for high-welfare animal husbandry,” said NPA chief executive, Dr Zoe Davies. “But we are always listening to the evolving expectations of our customers and we aim to meet those expectations through a policy of continual improvement.”
Focusing specifically on break-in risks, NPA advised members to fit infrared security cameras to collect evidence for private prosecutions against activists who enter units illegally.
“Tampering with doors and windows is unwelcome, but our real concern is the risk of introducing disease to high-health pig units, where a subsequent health break-down can cost thousands of pounds to remedy,” said NPA chairman Richard Lister (pictured above).
“It is our view that anti-meat campaigners who try and gain access to our buildings at night are trying to influence local planners to refuse permission for new pig units. But if that is their goal, they are being very short-sighted, because it just means more pork and pork products on supermarket shelves will be imported, much of it from countries with lower welfare standards.”
NPA’s advice to producers also included the following end-of-day check list for staff:
- Check all animals have sufficient bedding for the night.
- Check whether any animals need special treatment.
- Check there is no damage that could cause injuries during the night.
- Never go home until any welfare issues have been resolved.
- Ensure all medicines are under lock and key.