Online pig welfare training platform launching March 2022

Finishing pigs in a straw unit

Last year we contacted pig members to let them know about the new low cost online training platform that was being developed in collaboration with AHDB, Pig Health and Welfare Council, National Pig Association, Pig Veterinary Society, and Red Tractor.

Originally due to be launched last summer, we can now confirm the platform will go live on 1 March. Extra time was taken to pilot the training with a number of producers and refine the training content based on their valuable feedback.

Visit the AHDB website for more information on the training platform, including how to access it.

What does this mean for you?

A new Red Tractor standard means that anyone involved with care of pigs needs to have completed pig welfare training via this platform within three months of the 1 March launch date.

However, in recognition of the acute difficulties faced by producers at this time, the Red Tractor Pigs Board has agreed to extend this to six months, meaning training now needs to be completed by 31 August.

The first available module focuses on best practice in the moving and handling of pigs – an important reputational concern for the sector and key aspect of pig welfare.

The training will be for free for the first six months following its launch (or until the AHDB registers 8,000 users), after which there will be a charge of £10 per person.

Why is Red Tractor insisting on this training for everyone?

Red Tractor’s standards underpin the UK pig industry’s credibility and strength, ensuring that it remains world leading.

Training is not a new concept for Red Tractor, our standards have long required that staff be competent, and assessors are already checking records to verify you and your workforce have been effectively trained and deemed competent in relevant tasks.

We recognise that members and their workers already have a lot of experience moving and handling pigs. However, making sure we have consistent accredited training for everyone will mean that the entire industry can demonstrate its professional and positive approach to pig welfare to customers and consumers.

We can be sure that everyone is working to the same standards and, crucially, has a clear understanding of what is and is not acceptable when interacting with pigs.

Ensuring pigs are always treated compassionately is vital for pig welfare and for preserving the public’s trust in the UK pig sector.

A message from Red Tractor’s pigs scheme chair, Stewart Houston

“We fully understand that the pig sector faces a difficult time, and this training is a vital part of giving shoppers the confidence to buy British pork.

“It is an important part of making sure that the standards that we all expect within the industry are being met by those caring for animals.

“Making sure we have consistent accredited training for all means our industry can demonstrate its professional and positive approach to pig welfare to customers and consumers.

“Of course, we know there are experienced and competent members of staff working with pigs. However, with ever-increasing interest and scrutiny of how food is produced, having a professional approach towards training and development is essential, not only for protecting the reputation of individual farms, but the entire sector.”