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A Strategy for British Pig Health and Welfare

by 5m Editor
4 December 2003, at 12:00am

By BPEX - In response to the actions of Defra, the Scottish Executive and the Welsh Assembly Government in the development of an Animal Health and Welfare Strategy (AHWS) for Great Britain the industry has devised a Strategy for British Pig Health and Welfare outlining the measures that need to be taken by all those with an interest in the future of the British industry. This article highlights the report contents, introduction and summary and provides a link to the full 18 page PDF document.

British Pig Executive

It is the intention that all pig industry stakeholders will be consulted on The Strategy for British Pig Health and Welfare. The objective of the strategy being to achieve a demonstrable and sustainable improvement in pig health and resulting welfare that will contribute to the recovery of the British pig industry and a sustainable rural economy.

If you would like to voice your comments on this strategy you can do so here.

A Strategy for British Pig Health and Welfare CONTENTS

Contents
Foreword
Defra endorsement
Introduction
Summary
Vision for the future
Background
British Pig Industry
Pig Health and Welfare
Animal Health and Welfare Strategy
Priorities 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
Timescales for implementation
Measuring Success
List of acronyms
Government Animal Health and Welfare Strategy new initiatives

INTRODUCTION

The improvement in the health and welfare of pigs is one of the single most important factors that will determine the sustainability of the British pig production sector in the next 10 years and beyond. 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 themselves through improved welfare and it will benefit the country as a whole in helping to achieve government policy of a sustainable rural economy

Achieving this goal will be a huge task that can only be achieved through the cooperation and commitment of all those associated with the British pig sector be they producers, processors, veterinarians, the many supply businesses that support the sector and the government and its agencies. By working together we will all be able to realise the benefits that a sustainable British pig production and processing industry can deliver,

British pig producers have adopted welfare measures that are among the most comprehensive in the world as the Defra Code of Recommendations for the Welfare of Livestock: Pigs demonstrates. Pig welfare is a priority for the British pig industry and it has identified health and its impact on welfare as the most significant issue to be tackled in the next decade.

Disease is an ongoing challenge for man and animals. With rare exceptions diseases have not and cannot be eliminated in people so we cannot expect to eliminate all disease from animals. Diseases have evolved in parallel with animals and new challenges will continue to evolve. This strategy recognises that we all need to be vigilant. However the government and its agencies are uniquely placed as the front line of defence in reducing the risk of importing animal diseases. As the FMD outbreak in 2001 showed the benefits of stopping the introduction and spread of animal disease far outweigh the costs to the livestock sector and the wider rural and national economy

Ultimately it will be producers who have to bear the largest part of the cost of making the improvements in health and welfare. The strategy recognises that investment in improving pig health and welfare, whether by the industry or by government, has to demonstrate value for money It is therefore vital that the current health and welfare status of the British pig sector is established, targets for improvement are agreed and progress is monitored.

I am confident that this strategy will be fully supported by all involved in the industry and it will result in a significant improvement in pig health and welfare. It will also make a significant contribution to the governments Animal Health and Welfare Strategy and have benefits for food quality food safety the environment and economic sustainability

Stewart Houston Chairman, BPEX and NPA

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Improving the health and welfare of British pigs is vital to ensure the competitiveness and thereby sustainability of the industry. This will benefit pigs. producers, the supply chain, government and the rural economy. The Strategy for British Pig Health and Welfare has been devised to fit with the Animal Health and Welfare Strategy (AHWS) published by Defra, the Scottish Executive and the Welsh Assembly Government. The industry supports this government initiative and will work to ensure it is effectively implemented in the pig sector. The Strategy for British Pig Health and Welfare identifies 9 Priority Areas for Action. These are:

  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.
This strategy clearly identifies where the 9 Priorities for Action fit within the AHWS.
  • The Priorities for Action 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.

  • The British Pig Health and Welfare Council will be established by BPEX. It is planned that the Council would take on the role of the Sector Group for Pigs as detailed in the AHWS.

  • The British Pig Health and Welfare Improvement Programme will be driven by results. Success will be achieved if the health and welfare of British pigs shows a demonstrable and sustained improvement over the next 10 years and this makes a positive contribution to the profitability of pig production. The Council will monitor improvements on a regular basis and encourage the adoption of new methods of measurement where appropriate.
To read the full 18 Page report Click Here (104KB PDF, opens on new browser)

Source: BPEX - December 2003