SCOTTISH pig farmers have united in their commitment to animal health and welfare by signing up to the Scottish Pig Health Charter.

Every pig herd in Scotland which is a member of the Quality Meat Scotland assurance scheme has now signed up to the charter, covering more than 30,000 breeding sows and representing over 95% of the commercial pig herd in Scotland.

QMS pig specialist Allan Ward welcomed the 100% support for the Charter by quality assured pig producers: “When signing the charter, pig producers commit to working collaboratively with other producers to control and reduce the spread of disease for the benefit of all British pig producers.".

Among the benefits the Charter will deliver is the creation of health profiles of pig units in different areas, along with the geographical mapping of the regional distribution of diseases. It will also help support a rapid response via the Scottish Pig Disease Control Centre in the case of any outbreak of disease, in order to control and limit the spread.

QMS chairman Jim McLaren said the Scottish pig industry should be congratulated for uniting behind the Charter: “Our pig industry has a great track record of being at the forefront of initiatives to improve pig health and welfare and this is another great example of our producers being on the front foot.

“The health and welfare of animals is something which delivers benefits right along the production chain and it is something which is, quite rightly, becoming steadily more and more important to consumers.”

Scottish SPCA chief inspector Mike Flynn added: “As Scotland’s animal welfare charity we welcome any initiative which will help ensure that pig health and welfare is a priority.

“We are pleased to see that 95% of Scotland’s commercial pig farmers are now benefitting from the QMS assurance scheme, and signed up to the Scottish Pig Health Charter.”