Real Welfare scheme demonstrates continued improvements

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

The latest data from the Real Welfare scheme shows that the vast majority of farms are either addressing welfare issues or already have them under control.

Prevalence of the four main welfare outcomes shows a decreasing trend over time, while, at the same time, there is a slight increasing trend for the enrichment use ratio, compared with when the scheme started in 2013. This ratio still shows that there is room for improvement in effective enrichment provision for pigs.

Mandy Nevel, AHDB Senior Veterinary Manager said: “While there is always more to do, the evidence has shown, on average, the poorest performing farms have improved during this four-year period.

“Compared with 2013, a significant decrease in the proportion of lame pigs and pigs requiring hospitalisation was observed in each of the following years. Improvements of the enrichment use ratio were also identified in 2015, 2016 and 2017 and, compared with 2013, the proportion of pens with substrates and with objects tended to increase.”

The data, summarised in an interim report, represents more than 8 million pigs that were assessed individually over the first four years (2013–2017) of the scheme using the Real Welfare protocol; this included 136,154 pigs from Scottish farms after Real Welfare assessments were also required for farms that finish pigs under the Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) Pigs Assurance Scheme from August 2016.

Data from 2018 is currently being analysed and will be reported later in 2019.

Real Welfare update report