Pigs (England): Code of Recommendations for the Welfare of Livestock: Pigs (PB7950)

Section 1 - Recommendations for all pigs


7. The stock-keeper has the most significant influence on the welfare of pigs. In general, the larger the size of the unit the greater the degree of skill and care needed to safeguard welfare. The size of a unit should not be increased, nor should a large unit be set up, unless it is certain that the level of stockmanship will be sufficiently high to safeguard the welfare of each individual pig.
8. The stock-keeper should draw up a written health and welfare plan with the herds veterinary surgeon and, where necessary, other technical advisers. You should review and update your health and welfare plan at least once a year. This plan should set out health and husbandry activities that cover the cycle of production and include strategies to prevent, treat or limit existing disease problems. The plan should include enough records for you to assess the basic output of the herd and monitor the welfare of the pigs.
9. Those responsible for managing the farm should make sure that the pigs are cared for by enough well motivated and competent staff. These staff need to be aware of the welfare needs of pigs and be capable of protecting them from all expected problems before they are given any responsibility. This means that the staff need specific knowledge and skills, which they should develop on-farm by working with a skilled stock-keeper who is experienced in the relevant system. Wherever possible, staff should also attend relevant courses run by a suitable training organisation. Ideally, the training should lead to formal recognition of competence. Any contract or casual labour used on the farm should be trained and competent in the relevant activity.
10. Stock-keepers should be knowledgeable and competent in a wide range of animal health and welfare skills, which should include:
  • handling skills (see paragraphs 14 - 17);
  • preventing and treating lameness (see paragraphs 30 - 32);
  • preventing and treating internal and external parasites (see paragraphs 33 - 34);
  • giving medicines by injection (see paragraph 35);
  • providing appropriate care to sick and injured pigs (see paragraphs 38 - 44);
  • care of the sow and her litter (see paragraphs 93 - 99); and
  • management of pigs to minimise aggression (see paragraph 101).

If the stock-keeper is expected to perform specific tasks on-farm (for example, artificial insemination or teeth clipping/grinding), then they should be trained and competent.

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