Making better use of information we already have is the
key to making farm assurance inspections a benefit for
The British Pig Executive (BPEX) has invested in a three-year
project on adding value to farm assurance.
The project will examine the feasibility and benefits
of including some on-farm observations of health and welfare
outcomes within Assured British Pigs (ABP) scheme inspections.
It will also look at the ability of the assessment to
add value for producers (additional management information
to help optimise health and minimise costs), consumers
(improved welfare assurance), industry (maintain UK competitive
position) and regulators (maximise compliance with legislation).
BPEX Director of Pig Industry Development Mark Wilson
said: "This work becomes a valuable tool not a dangerous
precedent, it is not adding an additional cost to welfare!
"We will be rapidly disseminating lessons learnt
to stakeholders including ABP, Assured Food Standards,
DEFRA, National Pig Association and, where relevant, directly
to ABP assessors within certification bodies.
"We will include the retailers in the dissemination
discussions to be sure they are aware that high standards
of welfare in the UK continue to set this country apart."
The project is being undertaken by Dr David Main at Bristol
University and collaborates with Professor Sandra Edwards
at Newcastle University and Richard Campbell Chairman of
The total cost is £399,000 which includes contributions
from SVS (State Veterinary Service), ABP, AFS and Newcastle
University. This project will complement a PhD project
being funded in the same area with Professor Christopher
Wathes at the Royal Veterinary College.
Mark said: "The research work by Bristol and Newcastle
will help to inject some realism into both the proposals
and expectations that might come from future Brussels welfare
legislation by having some real practical help and information
from farmer focused researchers."
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