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.

Find out why pigs behave in certain ways, how they respond to humans and how to handle them effectively

Find out about the UK Pig Industry Welfare Training platform

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’.

Read more about Real Welfare

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.

Read more about tackling tail biting and docking

Explore the WebHAT tool

Environmental enrichment

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.

Read more on environmental enrichment for pigs