Pig Welfare

Thank you for contacting me about the welfare of pigs.

British agriculture has among the highest welfare standards in the world, and all livestock farms must comply with comprehensive environmental and animal welfare legislation. I am pleased that a new code of practice for the welfare of pigs has now been published. This new code sets out the highest standards on how to keep pigs, using the latest scientific and veterinary advice to safeguard and enhance welfare standards and I urge all farmers and those in the industry to take full heed of it.

I would like to assure you that the Government cares very much about animal welfare and is currently examining the evidence around the use of cages for farm animals in order to consider the options. Ministers have been clear that it is their ambition that farrowing crates should no longer be used for sows. Indeed, the new pig welfare code clearly states that “the aim is for farrowing crates to no longer be necessary and for any new system to protect the welfare of the sow, as well as her piglets.” I am pleased to confirm the UK is already ahead of most pig producing countries in terms of non-confinement farrowing, with around 40 per cent of our pigs housed outside and not farrowed with crates.

Our country’s high animal welfare standards are something to be proud of and will continuously be maintained and improved. However, if things do go wrong and an animals’ welfare is compromised, I would urge anyone with information about it to report the matter to the authorities or the RSPCA.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.