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Research project will investigate welfare indicators for farm assurance

by 5m Editor
3 August 2007, at 10:35am

UK - BPEX is funding research into ways of quantifying the welfare credentials of pig farms. But some producers have voiced concerns about the tone of the proposed research.

"As producers, we are doing welfare research every day," said NPA Producer Group member Charlie Allen. "I am worried that we are funding something that looks as if it is going to give us trouble."

But BPEX member John Rowbottom said that if the industry did not carry out its own research it was in danger of having new rules foisted upon it.

BPEX chairman Stewart Houston agreed and said that the only way we can fight unreasonable welfare demands is to have well researched information, and that is what the BPEX-funded research is about.

The research will be carried out by Bristol University and in a bid to make it more representative of the needs of the pig industry BPEX has strengthened producer presence on the steering group.

When the research team met the BPEX board last month it agreed there had been insufficient producer input to the project. The steering group now includes Mark Haighton, Tom Allen, Nick Green, Meryl Ward, Philip Richardson and Simon Watchorn.

Speaking at a recent NPA Producer Group meeting, John Rowbottom said he was concerned that if the industry did not have the necessary research to fight its corner, government might be tempted to introduce unilateral legislation. "We must not let that happen ever again," he said.

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5m Editor