The pig industry is considering setting up an independent whistleblower hotline so farm workers can report cases of animal abuse.
Representatives from across the supply chain are due to hold discussions in the coming weeks to explore how a hotline to alert attention to animal welfare breaches could work.
The National Pig Association said it wanted to show the industry took animal welfare seriously after a number of high-profile exposes in national newspapers showing farm staff mistreating pigs.
Five workers at a pig farm in Norfolk have been suspended after footage from animal rights organisation Animal Equality
It said an anonymous hotline was a way to show the industry was responsible and give workers the chance to step in if they saw animal abuse.
“This is about taking a more responsible approach,” said Zoe Davies, NPA general manager.
“Producers take animal welfare very seriously and we want to give the industry a way to help itself.
“We will be meeting industry representatives in the next few weeks to thrash out what is feasible, how we would run it and who would pay for it.”
Ms Davies said a number of larger pig producers might already have their own reporting systems in place, but there were other measures the industry could implement to be more responsible.
“Training and professionalism has a huge role to play. But we also need to look beyond that to think about how to ensure people apply their training and welfare breaches are prevented.
“This isn’t about making consumers or retailers confident, it’s about empowering the industry to do something before problems come to light in the national press and damage the whole industry.”
Action by the industry comes as a second case of pig cruelty in three months was exposed in the national press.
Last week five workers were suspended by the East Anglian Pig Company after undercover footage apparently showed animals being beaten and mishandled on two of the company’s farms.
Campaigners Animal Equality said activists filmed 120 hours of footage at a weaner unit at Little Thorns, near Swaffham and The Pigger at Didlington, near Thetford.
In February Norfolk pig farmer Stephen Brown took his own life after the same campaign group exposed welfare abuses on his 4000-pig farm.
Are we kidding ourselves on welfare?
Workers suspended by Norfolk pig farm