PHWC Welfare

The Pig Health and Welfare Council's Welfare subgroup aims to bring a consensus on the key pig welfare issues to be investigated and the ultimate aims for each issue. 

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Pig welfare within the British Isles needs to reflect the diverse production methods within the industry, however, this often presents unique challenges when compared with our European counterparts.

This work requires considerable amounts of facilitation between the pig industry including pig keepers, slaughterhouses and processors, allied industries, vets and paraprofessionals, welfare scientists, consumer organisations and government.

The aim is to develop workable strategies and initiatives to address the key issues identified.  

PHWC Welfare aims

The scope of investigation specifies the need to:

  • Evaluate the usefulness of measuring welfare outcomes and work with farm assurance schemes on incorporating a harmonised approach into standards. Such schemes can be used to earn recognition for progress made and provide a clear focus on ongoing improvement
  • Achieve progress in improving pig welfare that is not at the expense of deterioration in other areas, e.g. production costs that are unsustainable; reductions in tail docking should not be at the expense of an increase in pigs that are tail-bitten
  • Promote high welfare standards to consumers and work with retailers to create a virtuous cycle of investment and reward that should become the driver of progress in improving pig welfare
  • Work specifically on the following:
    • Reduction in the damage to pig tails
    • Examine the welfare and production impacts of piglet teeth clipping and feasible ranges for reduction in teeth clipping and grinding
    • Reduction in the incidence of lameness
    • Seek improvements in welfare at the time of farrowing and during lactation.