The Welfare Outcomes Project is expected to take about a year to complete, said a spokeswoman.
“Rather than looking at the inputs and saying because we put in x, y and z the welfare is good, we’re going to look at the output, the pig itself.”
BPEX will work with vets and producers on more than 300 farms toevaluate welfare and establish benchmark values for finishing pigs and breeding sow systems.
UK leads Europe on welfare standards
The project is designed to help the UK - which claims to have led the field on pig welfare in Europe over the past decade - stay ahead of the curve, she added
Despite the higher costs of more stringent welfare standards for producers, they did confer marketing benefits, claimed BPEX: “Higher welfare standards are highly appealing to consumers. There is a certain demand for locally-produced and higher welfare pork with standards such as Red Tractor farm assurance.
“But there is also a certain proportion of consumers that just buy according to price, and supermarkets have to cater for them.”