The UK Pig Industry Welfare Training platform has officially launched. The first module of the online training, which was developed by AHDB in collaboration with Red Tractor, the National Pig Association (NPA), the Pig Veterinary Society, the Pig Health and Welfare Council, and pig producers, focuses on the moving and handling of pigs.
Everyone involved in the care, moving, and handling of pigs on farm needs to complete the training by 31 August 2022 as part of Red Tractor standards. The moving and handling module takes 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete, though delegates will be able to pause and save their progress as they go along.
The course cost has been waived for the first 8,000 people who register or for the first six months (whichever is reached first) post-launch. After this, there will be a £10 fee per person per year to complete the training, which will fund the upkeep of the website and any changes or updates required to the course in the future.
“Having a professional workforce across UK farms underpins everything that we stand for, and ultimately this training is about reassuring consumers that Red Tractor pork has been farmed with care,” said Georgina McDowell, technical manager for pigs at Red Tractor.
“We have long required producers to maintain training records, but this platform represents a step forward in terms of providing a unified and consistent standard of pig care across the industry.”
Upon successful completion of the training, a certificate will be issued that can be saved for Red Tractor audits and on PigPro, the industry’s online training record.
Rob Beckett, a producer from Yorkshire who has been involved in testing the training with his team, commented: “The feedback that I have received from our stockpeople has all been positive. Every one of them has admitted that they have learnt something, including a couple who have more than 25 years’ experience in the industry. And they have all said that the software is straightforward to navigate and is laid out in a simple format.”
Zoe Davies, NPA Chief Executive, called the course a critical part of demonstrating that the standards expected within the industry are being met by pig keepers. “We know we have many competent stockpeople out there who know exactly what they are doing, and for them, it will be a way of reassuring their supply chain, customers and the public that pigs are being treated in the way they would expect,” she said.
Jim Morris, president of the Pig Veterinary Society, commented: “We welcome the launch of this module as yet another way of demonstrably raising the already high welfare standards on British pig farms.”
And Jen Waters, AHDB’s head of knowledge exchange for pork, added: “The pig industry is leading the way in terms of animal welfare, and the launch of a training platform for everyone who works with pigs is another huge step. We hope that producers, as well as consumers, will find its presence reassuring.”
Producers can find the training module at ahdbpork.vbms.co.uk/store