There’s over 300,000 pigs in Scotland, with the highest population concentrated in the Grampian area. Our inspectors visit an average of at least ten pig farms per month to ensure their welfare are high.

What welfare standards should pigs have?

Pigs, like all other animals, should be able to enjoy the ‘Five Freedoms’. This framework sets out the basic needs every animal has the right to. These are:

  • Its need for a suitable environment – by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area; 
  • Its need for a suitable diet – by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigour; 
  • Its need to be able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns – by providing sufficient space and proper facilities; 
  • Any need it has to be housed with, or apart from, other animals – by providing company of the animals’ own kind, if appropriate; 
  • Its need to be protected from suffering, injury and disease – by ensuring conditions and treatment to avoid suffering, including mental suffering.

What do we expect of people who own pigs?

Anyone keeping pigs should be fully aware of their limits in terms of how many pigs they can safely care for. This means thinking hard about their environment, the type of pigs and the number of people available to assist the owner in managing the pigs.

Good practice would see an owner work with a vet to draw up a welfare plan for a herd that is regularly updated. They’ll also have to be knowledgeable in a wide range of animal health and welfare skills, including:

  • biosecurity
  • handling skills
  • providing care and treatment to sick or injured pigs and administering medicine by injection
  • caring for a sow and her litter 
  • preventing and treating lameness.

Pigs should be regularly inspected and any one keeping them should be aware of their normal behaviour as any with welfare issues will not display this. Pigs should enjoy good hygiene and effective ventilation where they are housed. They should have accommodation where they can move freely and a lying area which is kept dry and well-drained.

Got concerns about pigs?

If you are worried about the welfare of a pig you’ve seen, get in touch. Call our animal helpline on 03000 999 999 and you can report your concerns confidentially.

As well as preventing cruelty, we work alongside farmers to make sure they can manage their group of pigs safely and properly to ensure the highest welfare standards possible are met.