Ben Thompsett from Norfolk Free Range had been named winner in the ‘Excellence in higher farm animal welfare’ category at RSCPA Assured’s innaugural awards for pig and poultry members.
The 23 year old, who leads a team of six managing an RSPCA Assured outdoor breeding unit with 1,500 sows for Norfolk Free Range, was chosen as winner from 15 nominees.
Dr. Zoe Davies, chief executive of the National Pig Association, commented: “We were so impressed by Ben. He is a very dedicated young man who is clearly going over and above to ensure the welfare of his pigs. His mortality rates are amazingly low which really demonstrates that dedication.
“The RSPCA Assured awards are a great opportunity to showcase and celebrate pig producers who are going above and beyond in animal welfare, education and sustainability and Ben is very deserving of his award.”
Commenting on his win, Mr Thompsett said: “I am delighted to have won the excellence in higher animal welfare award for pigs. I try hard to do the very best for my pigs and make sure they are kept to the highest possible welfare standards. It feels good to be recognised for this.”
Nick Baird, Norfolk Free Range’s breeding manager, also commented: “Ben has been working for us for three years now. He will always go the extra mile and work late for the welfare of the animals. For instance, a batch of gilts left the gilt-rearing unit late one afternoon so they didn’t get to Swaffham until the early evening. Ben stayed back to make sure the gilts were settled into their pens before he went home.
“Nothing is ever too much trouble, he always prioritises the welfare of the pigs. Ben sets a great example to his colleagues, particularly the younger ones who really look up to him, which is why he is so good at training people.”
The RSPCA Assured awards are designed to recognise and reward pig, broiler, laying hen and turkey members for achievements in four categories: Excellence in higher farm animal welfare; Excellence in the education of farm animal welfare; Excellence in sustainability and higher farm animal welfare; and Outstanding contribution.
The final winners in the other categories will be announced daily throughout this week.