Improving on-farm animal welfare practices could help save the lives of 1.6 million piglets born over the course of five years and boost the pork industry, the RSPCA has claimed.

Last year about 1.4 million piglets died before they reached four weeks of age, according to the charity in its The Welfare State report. However improved animal husbandry and farm management practices could greatly reduce mortality rates, leading to higher animal welfare standards and economic benefits to the pig industry, it claimed.