NPA chief exec delivers message for industry in wake of pig abuse case

NPA chief executive Zoe Davies said the pig industry has a ‘huge responsibility’ to ensure high standards of stockmanship on farms, as she was interviewed by BBC Farming Today about animal welfare abuse on pig farms.

The feature was prompted by recent coverage of guilty pleas by three men who admitted abusing pigs on a farm in North Lincolnshire. The men were charged after an animal welfare charity used a hidden camera to film the men hitting the animals and prodding them with a pitchfork at Fir Tree Farm in Goxhill. The men were released on unconditional bail and have been warned they face custodial sentences later this month.

Zoe answered questions on whether the incident demonstrated the need for compulsory CCTV on farms, suggesting it could be impractical on some farms.

She was also challenged on whether it showed that undercover filming was currently the most effective means of uncovering this kind of abuse on pig farms.

She said she did not believe this was the case. She said: “Clearly the industry has a huge responsibility and it takes that responsibility very seriously in terms of ensuring that anybody working on pigs farms 365 days of the year are doing exactly what we expect them to do and no less.”

“No right minded person would ever condone animal abuse. There’s no place for it on farms and there are thousands of people working every day, day in, day out, caring for the animals. All it takes is one or two isolated incidents like this to put a blight on the entire sector. I think that’s really sad. It makes a mockery of what the vast majority of law-abiding farmers are doing every day. This is not common.”

Zoe also highlighted the increased number of unannounced inspections on Red Tractor farms and the NPA’s Confidential Reporting Service where anyone working on a farm or a member of the public can call a confidential line if they suspect animal abuse has taken place.

You can listen to the interview here (9 minutes)

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Editor of LBM titles Pig World and Farm Business and group editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer. National Pig Association's webmaster. Previously political editor at Farmers Guardian for many years and also worked Farmers Weekly. Occasional farming media pundit. Brought up on a Leicestershire farm, now work from a shed in the garden in Oxfordshire. Big fan of Leicester City and Leicester Tigers. Occasional cricketer.