UK supplier gains first pan-European UKAS accredited welfare standard for pigs

UK-based continental meats supplier Winterbotham Darby has become the first company to gain accreditation for pig welfare across its European supply chain.

The Winterbotham Darby European Farm Partnership (EFP) pig module brings together farmers, suppliers, industry partners and retailers and lays the foundation for the standard. It is the only accredited standard of its kind for Europe and covers the entire supply chain; breeding, rearing, finishing, transport and slaughter.

The company, which has production sites in France, Italy, Spain, Belgium and Germany, said the standard is for higher welfare systems and takes into account health and welfare factors such as free farrowing, increased space and a stimulating environment.

It covers antibiotic usage and medicine, feed, veterinary procedures, biosecurity and pest control. As a result, those farms audited against the Pig module will meet or exceed current UK supermarket or retail requirements.

The standard was written by animal welfare specialists at the company, then presented to a technical working group.  Following sign off there were desk-based reviews and on-farm audits by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS). The UKAS-accredited EFP Pig module, will be audited by certification body KIWA Agri Food, on behalf of Winterbotham Darby.

David Houghton, technical director for Winterbotham Darby said: “Through a collaborative effort, working with our supply partners, farmers, retailers and NGOs we’ve now produced the first pig welfare standard of its kind.

“It can be implemented across the whole of Europe, taking into consideration the different production systems. It is a tiered system which we can use to encourage farmers to continually improve their standards. This is a fantastic accomplishment, not just for us, but also a step forward in pig welfare.”

Winterbotham Darby is a leading supplier of Continental meats to the UK retail and food manufacturing markets, with a commitment to lead and continually improve animal welfare.  It works with over 40 production partners to supply own label and branded lines to retailers and foodservice.  Its goal is to be a world-leading meat business through their animal welfare offer, innovation, sustainability, traceability and sourcing.

The company recently presented some interesting research on consumer attitudes towards animal welfare.


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About The Author

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.