Husbandry and welfare of pigs
The welfare of pigs is paramount for the British pig industry, which takes a proactive approach to animal welfare improvement. This information aims to ensure the already high welfare standards that exist in the UK are maintained and improved.
To ensure pig producers meet regulations and the UK's high standards, we work closely with the pig industry, government departments, universities and allied industry organisations to assess, monitor and promote the welfare of pigs throughout their production life on farm, during transport and at slaughter.
Important welfare themes we are working on include:
Moving and handling pigs
Maintaining high standards of welfare is linked to better health and performance of livestock. Proper handling will also improve carcase quality, reduce issues at processing and ensure good carcase yield.
High standards of handling also demonstrate our commitment to meeting consumer expectations at a time of ever-increasing scrutiny.
Welfare outcome assessments
This is a practical and scientifically informed way of assessing and measuring animal welfare.
We maintain the Real Welfare scheme of on-farm assessment of finisher pig welfare, using animal-based ‘welfare outcomes’.
Tackling tail biting and reducing tail docking
Tail-biting behaviour in pigs can have a negative impact on pig welfare and production.
We explain the risks associated with tail biting and suggestions for reducing them on farm. An interactive Tail Biting Husbandry Advisory Tool (WebHAT) also provides information about the key risks in pigs and practical suggestions to help reduce the risks on-farm.
It is a legal requirement for pig producers to provide pigs at all production stages with permanent access to environmental enrichment materials.
Read our practical guide provides useful information on a variety of environmental enrichment methods for differing types of housing and systems.