The Red Tractor pigs scheme has issued new guidance for producers considering balcony systems for housing pigs.
There is growing interest in the UK in these systems, which are popular in parts of Europe, including the Netherlands and Scandinavian countries. Some UK manufacturers are ready to provide the systems, but without approval from Red Tractor, there has been an understandable reluctance among producers to go down this route.
Red Tractor has now issued guidance after the pigs scheme’s Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) considered the suitability of the system in relation to scheme standards.
Detailed guidance can be found here.
Red Tractor said it issued guidance in response to interest in the system expressed by scheme members in the systems. “If you are considering changing your pig housing, please ensure you remain compliant with the standards,” a Red Tractor spokesperson said.
You can read more about the balcony system in a feature that appeared in the May edition of Pig World here.
NPA chief executive Zoe Davies, who worked with the TAC to develop the new standard, said: “The balcony system looks very interesting and certainly has the potential to deliver economic benefits for producers, without comprising on animal welfare.
“In principle, I think it could provide a useful solution to people who are looking to reduce their stocking density and provide the pigs with an added dimension to the pen. They are already being used in other EU countries and so it is important UK producers can take advantage of the system if they want to, provided they follow Red Tractor’s installation guidance.”