Serving the Farming Industry across the Midlands for 35 Years
A new training platform aims to make it easier for pig producers to maintain high levels of on-farm animal welfare.

A new training platform aims to make it easier for pig producers to maintain high levels of on-farm animal welfare.

The first module of the UK Pig Industry Welfare Training platform focuses on pig movement and handling. Everyone involved in on-farm pig production must complete the training by 31 August as part of Red Tractor standards.

Red Tractor technical manager Georgina McDowell said: “Having a professional workforce across UK farms underpins everything that we stand for. Ultimately this training is about reassuring consumers that Red Tractor pork has been farmed with care.”

Ms McDowell added: “We have long required producers to maintain training records, but this platform represents a step forward in terms of providing a unified and consistent standard of pig care across the industry.”

Easy to use

The module takes 90 minutes to complete, although delegates can pause and save their progress as they go along. A certificate issued after training is completed can be saved for Red Tractor audits and on PigPro, the industry’s online training record. 

Pig producer Rob Beckett helped test the training module with his farm staff before it was launched. It was simple to complete and served as a useful reminder of the right way to do things – with positive feedback from stockpeople, he said.

“Every one of them admitted they have learnt something – including a couple who had more than 25 years experience in the industry. They all said that the software was straightforward to navigate and laid out in a simple format.”

National Pig Association chief executive Zoe Davies said the training course would encourage consumer confidence in British pork. “This is a critical part of demonstrating that the standards we all expect within the industry are met by pig keepers.

Competent people

“We know we have many competent stockpeople out there who know exactly what they are doing. For them, it will be a way of reassuring their supply chain, customers and the public that pigs are being treated in the way they would expect.”

The Pig Veterinary Society said pig welfare remained a priority. Society president Jim Morris said: “We welcome the launch of this module as yet another way of demonstrably raising the already high welfare standards on British pig farms.”

AHDB head of pork knowledge exchange Jen Waters said the training platform was a big step in ensuring good animal welfare. She added: “We hope that producers, as well as consumers, will find its presence reassuring.”

How to complete the pig course

The course is free for the first 8,000 people who register within the next six months – saving the £10 annual fee to complete the training.

Course content aims to ensure a consistent and high level of welfare across the pig industry. The training acts as a refresher for experienced pig handlers as well as a way of improving the skills of new entrants.

The online training was developed by the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board in collaboration with Red Tractor, the National Pig Association, the Pig Veterinary Society, and the Pig Health and Welfare Council.

The course and website development costs have been funded by the AHDB levy. The moving and handling course is the first module to be released on the platform, with further subjects likely to be released over future years.

Full details can be found by visiting