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NPA welcomes key animal health themes set out in PHWC report

11th Jul 2019 / By Alistair Driver

The NPA has welcomed a new report by the Pig Health and Welfare Council (PHWC) setting out the key themes in ensuring the future health and welfare of the national pig herd.

phwc report 1Top of the list is industry partnership, with enhanced surveillance, reduced use of antibiotics, new technology and promoting skills all featuring.

The PHWC unveiled its latest biennial report, outlining the council’s achievements and setting out its priorities, at the Great Yorkshire Show on Tuesday afternoon. Launching the report, PHWC chair Dr Jane Downes set out the strategy for developing the new 20:30 vision for pig health and welfare.

To achieve its vision of securing a safe, sustainable and profitable industry, PHWC has identified six themes, which the wider industry is being consulted on. These are:

  1. Partnership working with those in the pig industry and other farm animal sectors
  2. Maintain and extend disease surveillance 
  3. Reduce, control or eliminate endemic disease, including those with food safety implications, with the aim of reducing the need for the use of antibiotics
  4. Use of data and new technologies
  5. Provide evidence that all production systems provide for physical and mental wellbeing
  6. Promote professional skills

The PHWC biennial report is available here:

Dr Downes said: “In future, we will need to think about the bigger picture in any recommendations for change, the impact on the environment, air quality, water quality and waste management and, to this end, we will be inviting such experts to join the PHWC.

“We will be working with the pig industry to update the 20:20 vision to take the industry forward to 2030. We aim to secure a sustainable and profitable industry which has the ability to invest in new technologies, disease-control measures and high welfare standards in all production systems, meeting the requirements of both present customers and new markets.”

The NPA is an active member of PHWC. NPA chief executive Zoe Davies highlighted the value of a body that brings different parts of the industry together to focus on pig health and welfare and welcomed its six themes for the future.

“Industry partnership will always be critical and surveillance and biosecurity have never been more important, given the disease threats facing the industry. The promoting of skills across the industry is also critical as we look to a future where improvements need to be made to pig health with less reliance on antibiotics,” she said.

The report outlined how, over the past two years, the council has helped the industry prepare for potential disease outbreaks, including holding workshops. These included Exercise Trent, a disease simulation exercise go test the contingency plan for dealing with an outbreak of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea virus (PEDv), implemented primarily by AHDB) with support from the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).

Other programmes of work have focused on topics such as African swine fever, LA-MRSA and hepatitis E, and the council has also had a wider involvement in the tail-biting action group and Defra’s revised code of practice for pig welfare.