Red Tractor pig welfare training scheme ready to roll

The new Red Tractor training requirement for pig farmers and workers is up and running, and is free to the first 8,000 people who sign up.

Everyone involved in the care, moving and handling of pigs on farm must complete specific training by 31 August 2022 as part of Red Tractor standards.

See also: Find all our pig health and welfare content in one place

The online UK Pig Industry Welfare Training platform that will deliver this training was launched on Tuesday (1 March), with the first module focusing on the moving and handling of pigs.

Further modules are likely to be released in future years.

Annual training will cost £10 a person, a fee that will fund the upkeep of the website and future revisions of the course. However, that fee will be waived for the first 8,000 people who register or, if that target isn’t achieved, within for the first six months.

The online training was developed by AHDB in collaboration with Red Tractor, the National Pig Association (NPA), the Pig Veterinary Society, the Pig Health and Welfare Council and pig producers, with the course and website development costs funded by the levy.

Red Tractor’s technical manager for pigs Georgina McDowell said the training would reassure consumers that Red Tractor pork had been farmed with care.

Red Tractor already had a requirement for producers to keep training records, but the new platform is intended to provide a “unified and consistent” standard of pig care across the industry, she added.

The training comes at a difficult time for the pig sector, which has seen 40,000 pigs culled or disposed of because of a shortage of butchers to process them.

But Red Tractor’s Pigs Scheme chairman Stewart Houston said the training was a “vital part” of giving shoppers the confidence to buy British pork.

A certificate will be issued when the training has been completed, which can be used for Red Tractor audits and on PigPro, the industry’s online training record.

The moving and handling module takes 90min to complete, but it does not need to be completed in a single sitting – the training can be paused and saved.  

The modules have already been trialled in the industry, including in the system run by Yorkshire pig producer Rob Beckett.

“The feedback I have received from our stockpeople has all been positive,” he reported.

“Every one of them has admitted that they have learned something, including a couple who have more than 25 years’ experience in the industry.”

Producers can find the training module here