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College Celebrates Unique High-Welfare Pig Unit

by 5m Editor
5 October 2007, at 1:42pm

UK - Bishop Burton College has officially launched its innovative high-welfare pig unit with a high-profile opening ceremony.

The launch comes after the unit gained prestigious Freedom Food accreditation from the RSPCA.

The Bishop Burton unit is the only one in the country that allows sows and gilts to farrow outdoors in arcs within the unit, weaners are then reared indoors on straw.

The unit goes for the best high-welfare contracts and staff are committed to ensuring rigorous welfare standards are met at all times.

The unit was opened by Tim Rymer, chairman of JSR Genetics, along with College principal Jeanette Dawson.

The company supply the unit with Genepacker Gold X gilts, bred from Large White, Landrace and Duroc lines. To maximise hybrid vigour, the JSR Titan boar (Pietrain) is also used.

Mr Rymer believes the system is one of the best in the country.

He said: "It's great to be celebrating the opening of this unit - especially at a time of such uncertainty in the industry.

"This is certainly a very successful project - the unit has an outstanding success rate and has shown that it is possible to find that perfect balance between welfare and performance."

Organisations represented at the event included the NFU, Yorkshire Agricultural Society, LANTRA, BPEx and NPA.

College principal Jeanette Dawson is extremely proud of the pig unit - particularly as it is not only a commercial venture, but it's also an educational resource, used by many of Bishop Burton College's Agriculture Students.

She said: "There was a time when we had very grave concerns about the future of Bishop Burton pigs, however by considering the options that were open to us and by working with some of the best people in the business - including our own farm staff - we decided a high-welfare system would be ideal.

"One of Bishop Burton College's values states that we must strive for excellence in all that we do and this operation is the perfect embodiment of that.

"It's crucial that we offer our learners the very best and this unit shows them what is possible if you aim high enough."

5m Editor