Meat bosses have acted to clamp down on one of Scotland’s largest pig farmers on animal welfare grounds.
Quality Meat Scotland said it had acted to expel Scotpigs from its industry-wide Farm Assurance Scheme.
QMS chairman Jim Walker said: “The Scottish pig industry is rightly proud of its high standards of animal welfare, health and hygiene.
“Neither the industry nor QMS will allow individual companies to bring the whole sector into disrepute.”
Most of the Scotpig farms, owned by Arthur Simmers, had already been excluded from the scheme, while the remaining few had been under investigation for a number of weeks. The body which carries out the assurance scheme for QMS, Scottish Food Quality Assurance, had said it was not convinced there were sufficient internal management schemes in place to ensure good animal welfare. As a result, QMS last week made the decision to withdraw certification from all farms operated by Scotpigs.
Walker said the removal of the scheme meant companies would be unable to find an outlet for non-assured pigs within Scotland. “Consumers can be satisfied the pork products they buy, labelled with the blue thistle logo, have met the rigorous standards.
“We are not prepared to let one rotten apple in the barrel take the reputation of the industry into disrepute.”
The QMS decision also coincided with the release of secret films made at three Scotpigs sites by animal welfare group Advocates for Animals.
The organisation, which released its findings to BBC Scotland, said it found atrocious conditions at sites in Ormiston, Aberdeen and Dundee.
Ross Minett, Advocates’ campaigns director, said: “We found sick pigs with open sores, dying pigs, a rotting piglet, fly infestations, dead rats and rats running all over the place.”
Ed Bedington