Scottish SPCA Approves Launch of Pioneering Brand

SCOTLAND, UK - Pig farms throughout Scotland are being visited by inspectors from the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) as part of a ground-breaking initiative welcomed by the Scottish pig industry.
calendar icon 18 September 2009
clock icon 4 minute read

History will be made when a new brand of pork from Scottish farms, 'Specially Selected Pork Approved by Scottish SPCA', this month makes its debut on supermarket shelves and butchers' counters with Asda, supplied by Vion Halls, leading the way.

The initiative, developed by a partnership of Quality Meat Scotland and the Scottish SPCA, is on course to see hundreds of Scottish pig farms inspected and approved by the animal welfare charity.

The move is the UK's first farm assurance and food labelling scheme independently approved by a national animal welfare charity.

Participation is voluntary and it is expected the vast majority of pig farms in Scotland – more than 200 – will become involved. Already pig farms producing more than 4,000 pigs per week have been inspected by the Scottish SPCA.

Scottish SPCA chief executive, Stuart Earley, said he was delighted with the positive response from the Scottish pig industry, "This is a very exciting project which I am pleased to say is demonstrating the extremely high standards of welfare on Scottish pig farms.

"Consumers purchasing Specially Selected Pork labelled as approved by the Scottish SPCA can be confident the product has been sourced from farms where the health and welfare of pigs is a top priority.

"Key to the integrity of this scheme is the fact the Scottish SPCA receives no income, either directly or through any subsidiary, by charging for the inspections. As a result consumers can have complete confidence in the impartiality and independence of the inspection process."

Welcoming the initiative, QMS chief executive, 'Uel Morton, said pig producers rightly take enormous pride in their production standards.

"One problem the pig industry faces is that, compared with beef and sheep farms, it is not easy to open the gates of pig units to allow the public access.

"This is due to the strict biosecurity and high stockmanship standards which are required to maintain the health and welfare of pigs and the excellent quality of the pork produced.

"Through this initiative, however, Scottish SPCA inspectors are being given full access to inspect pig farms and we are delighted they can act as the 'eyes and ears' of the wider public and provide complete, independent assurance on welfare standards."

Dr Chris Brown, Asda's Head of Ethical and Sustainable Sourcing said, "We are delighted to support this new scheme, which will give customers in our Scottish stores the highest level of assurance on the welfare of pigs, something we know they are concerned about.

"ASDA is a major supporter of the Scottish pig industry and we believe that this partnership with Scottish SPCA and QMS will be a real benefit to Scottish pig farmers, processors and customers," added Dr Brown.

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment, Richard Lochhead said: "The new partnership between QMS and the Scottish SPCA confirms that Scottish pig farmers are world leaders in animal health and welfare.

"While celebrating Scottish Food and Drink fortnight, it is a welcome reminder that we have first class standards from farm to fork. The Scottish Government has been working with QMS and the industry to deliver that message to the public.

"The scheme will deliver real benefits and reassurance to consumers and provide a further welcome boost for our valued pig sector."

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