On Wednesday 12th October, Compassion hosted a roundtable to explore the barriers and solutions to increasing the uptake of welfare improvements for pigs reared in indoor production systems in the UK.
Compassion’s Food Business team arranged the roundtable after hearing from pig producers that it is proving very difficult to justify investing in higher welfare indoor systems without wider industry and supply chain support.
Specifically, the meeting focussed on the challenges of investing in systems that include free-farrowing, operating without sow stalls and the provision of adequate manipulable material and bedding throughout life.
At point of sale to the consumer, there is currently no differentiation between the meat that comes from higher welfare indoor systems to that produced in standard production systems.
The discussions therefore centred on exploring whether differentiation of indoor pig production is required so that a new category of higher welfare pig meat could be created. This would allow producers to receive a sufficient premium to make welfare improvements commercially viable.
The roundtable, held in London, was attended by key stakeholders from the UK pig industry including industry bodies, assurance schemes, government, academics and producers, supply chain managers and retailer representatives.
To find out more about the benefits of free-farrowing and the variety of systems available, see our recently published booklet on Indoor free-farrowing systems for sows – practical options.