Dear Pig Scheme Members,

As part of our ongoing commitment to enhance communication and engagement, I am again pleased to provide you with an update from our recent board meeting held on the 27th of June.

We held a workshop discussing the future of assurance and ways to improve audit efficiency without compromising compliance. It was a free-ranging discussion covering inspection duplication, leveraging a good compliance record, reducing paperwork, and improving the Portal, particularly for integrators. Nothing was off-limits. I will report further when I hope you can give us feedback.

Red Tractor recognises that as markets develop, members may require different standards to access them – exports of pigmeat to California is a good example. Similarly, in the poultry sector Red Tractor developed Enhanced Welfare and Free-Range modules in response to growing demands for higher welfare options. At the meeting, there was a discussion about the feasibility of a similar approach for the pig sector and opportunities for members to access different markets as simply as possible. This will be explored further over the next few months and a key consideration will be avoiding audit duplication for businesses already inspected by other organisations.

Changes to the Veterinary Medicines Regulations recently came into force. Some of the interpretation is still being worked out between PVS and VMD, but we’ve been able to agree a small number of changes to the standards to align with the new requirements, for implementation in January 2025. We will give you more information about these changes later in the year.

Red Tractor is assisting the NPA with its Flexible Farrowing reports. We know that some producers are considering a change away from conventional crates. Our dilemma is that many would like to understand what the minimum dimensions might look like and for us to be prescriptive, while others worry that might be a hostage to fortune. There is a debate on whether to specify minimum dimensions or use general terms regarding a sow’s ability to turn around. Further meetings with NPA, PVS, and AHDB are planned before presenting a proposal to the Board.

I also updated the Board on my recent activities, including the two seminars I participated in on the future of farm assurance at the Pig Fair, chaired by Lizzie Wilson. I shared the platform with the RSPCA Assured team, which let us open dialogue with them around coordinated inspections. We will explore this further as we know that avoiding duplication is especially important to you.

Best regards


Chair, Red Tractor Pigs Board

Pig Board members:

William de Klein – Processor

Heidi Deckker – Processor

Ash Gilman – Processor

Pig Producer Reps (indoor and outdoor) – x4 (including 1 x NPA rep and 1 UFU rep)

Natalie Smith – Retailer

        Chris Brown – Retailer and BRC

Charlotte Evans – AHDB Pork

Michael Putt – Pig Veterinary Society

Grace O’Gorman – TAC Chair