December 03, 2003



British Pig Industry Takes Major Step Ahead With Pig Health & Welfare Strategy


The British pig industry has taken a major step forward with the announcement of a Pig Health and Welfare Strategy.

The strategy, drawn up by the British Pig Executive (BPEX), the NPA (National Pig Association), PVS (Pig Veterinary Society) and MLC (Meat and Livestock Commission) in response to Government moves on the subject, was launched at an industry conference yesterday.

It incorporates nine priorities for action including scientific and technical targets designed to allow prevailing animal health problems to be quantified, controlled, eradicated or avoided, together with organisational targets.

The strategy will be the subject of a major consultation to make sure it meets the industry's needs and a key element will be the establishment of the Pig Health and Welfare Council next year.

BPEX Chairman Stewart Houston said: "It is estimated that pig disease costs British pig producers at least £50 million a year."

"Improving the health of pigs will benefit customers through better quality meat and meat products. It will benefit producers and processors by saving costs and improving competitiveness."

"It will benefit the pigs through improved welfare and it will benefit the country as a whole in helping achieve Government policy of a sustainable rural economy."

Speaking by video link, Animal Health and Welfare Minister Ben Bradshaw said: "The Animal Health and Welfare Strategy represents an important step towards a more comprehensive and strategic approach to animal health and welfare."

"I am very encouraged that the pig sector is so quickly off the mark with its own strategy and know that Government looks forward to working with the industry over the coming years to implement this far-sighted strategy."

The Strategy identifies 9 Priority Areas for Action:

  1. Establish a national structure to provide the focus, drive and planning for a national pig health improvement programme

  2. Establish the present health, welfare and disease status of the British pig herd

  3. Enhance disease surveillance information available to pig producers

  4. Undertake intervention studies on disease control and eradication and support health improvement programmes with advice

  5. Develop nationally-recommended biosecurity protocols

  6. Develop national protocols for new disease prevention and eradication programmes

  7. Quantify risks and the consequences of emerging pig issues

  8. Enhance training in disease identification and treatment

  9. Increase the programme of targeted pig disease research.

These priorities will form the basis of the British Pig Health and Welfare Improvement Programme. The implementation of this programme will be the responsibility of a new British Pig Health and Welfare Council. The Council will consist of representatives of all stakeholders and be chaired independently.

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