Working with the pig industry

Red Tractor Farm Assurance Pig Scheme Welfare Outcome Assessment: Real Welfare

The Red Tractor Farm Assurance Pig Scheme has implemented Welfare Outcome Assessment for finishing pigs in the form of Real Welfare. The Soil Association and RSPCA Freedom Food scheme are now implementing the AssureWel Welfare Outcome Assessment within pig inspections and assessment for both finishing pigs and dry sows, it is important to understand the reasons, priorities and methods of each approach.

AssureWel has worked closely with BPEX to develop finisher protocols that are harmonised and complementary. Where the same indicators are used, they are measured and recorded in the same way. However the AssureWel protocol does include additional finisher measures and the inclusion of sow measures.

Licensees who are part of the Red Tractor Scheme are receiving a Real Welfare outcome assessment on their finishing pigs as part of their quarterly vet visit. However, the data collected within these assessments will not be shared with FF and SA assurance schemes. Therefore, within SA and FF assessments a separate AssureWel Welfare Outcome Assessment of our finisher herds is necessary to ensure our entire membership is covered and receives the animal focused assessment. It ensures our farm assessors have this valuable information to support welfare focused discussions at the time of assessment. The collection of this data provides an idea of scheme level prevalence’s, aiding us to improve our standards, and informs us of the level of welfare being achieved on farms and across our schemes.

Key differences between Real Welfare and AssureWel welfare outcome assessments:

1.    Measures

Real Welfare assesses 6 outcomes for finishing pigs which are also included within the AssureWel WOA; indicated with * below. In addition to these measures we also assess 5 extra measures for finishing pigs and a set of 15 measures for dry sows.

2.    Sample Size

Real Welfare sample a minimum of 300 pigs annually during 3 to 4 separate vet visits. The AssureWel protocol suggests a maximum sample of 50 pigs annually to keep the assessment manageable within a typical Farm Assurance Scheme assessment whilst still providing robust informative data. At a scheme level this sample size provides confidence in prevalence and allows benchmarking of the data obtained in order to stimulate action and drive improvement. AssureWel also recommends and supports self-assessment of the measures on farm, so allowing a larger sample to be assessed more regularly.

Finishers


Pen Level
•    Enrichment use
•    Lameness*
•    Tail docking*
•    Ear/flank biting*
•    Hospital pens

Herd Measure
•    Pigs needing further care
(Real Welfare call this hospital pigs)*

Individual Measures
•    Body marks*
•    Tail lesions*
•    Manure on body
•    Leg swellings
•    Skin conditions

Record Measures
•    Mortality


Dry Sows


Pen Level
•    Enrichment Use
•    Tail docking
•    Ear/Flank biting
•    Nose ringing
•    Hospital pens

Herd Measure
•    Pigs needing further care

Individual Measures
•    Body marks
•    Shoulder lesions
•    Vulva lesions
•    Manure on the body
•    Leg swellings
•    Skin conditions
•    Lameness
•    Body Condition

Record Measures
•    Mortality

*measured by Real Welfare