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Stackyard News May 06
       

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    Farm Assurance - Value Not Cost
22/05/06

Making better use of information we already have is the key to making farm assurance inspections a benefit for all.

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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 ABP.

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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