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Why it is important for producers to respond to the Red Tractor consultation

18th Feb 2021 / By Alistair Driver

Members have been urged to ensure they respond individually to the consultation on some important changes to Red Tractor's standards. 

Red Tractor new logoMore than 100 members joined a webinar hosted by NPA last week giving members an opportunity to ask questions of Red Tractor's technical manager for pigs Georgina Crayford and pigs board chair Stewart Houston about the consultation, which closes on March 5

The NPA is currently working hard to formulate a detailed response to the consultation. The first draft will be circulated next week for members to comment on.

But Red Tractor was keen to stress that they also want to see feedback directly from individual scheme members. 

Mr Houston said: “I know the main representative bodies will respond, but I would love to hear from every single pig farmer, both positive and negative comments. We will look hard at all of the comments that come in and reflect them in the final standards where we can.”

Launched in early January, many of the proposed changes within the document reflect the requirements of the Defra Pig Welfare Code. There are new requirements on animal health and welfare, husbandry, biosecurity and antibiotic usage, as the changes tie in with the Pig Health and Welfare Pathway currently being developed and the new sector antibiotic targets.

In some cases, the proposed changes come in the form of recommendations, rather than new requirements.

  • The full list of proposed changes, supplementary documents on why Red Tractor has reached these decisions and on how to respond to the consultation can be found on the Red Tractor review hub
  • The full consultation can be accessed at
  • Red Tractor is also keen for scheme members to respond to the What Matters To You And Your Business survey.

The NPA has played an important part in shaping the pig sector standards, with chief executive Zoe Davies on the technical advisory committee and producer Phil Stephenson representing NPA members on the pork sector board.

Zoe said: “This is a significant revision of Red Tractor’s standards and it is really important that members take a good look at the proposals and respond to the consultation by March 5.

“We have been involved throughout the process and, while we don’t agree with some of the final proposals, we have secured changes in areas where the original proposals could have been more problematic for members and pushed for some to come in as recommendations as opposed to full standards to give producers more time to adapt. 

“We will issue our detailed response to the consultation and make it available to members for comment, but it is equally important for individual members to respond too."

  • A recording of the webinar is available upon request for those who were unable to attend. Please email Andrea directly ( and she will share it with you.