Group of pigs with long tails.

Pig HealthCheck Introduction

Pig HealthCheck is an Animal Health Ireland-led programme co-funded by pig producers and DAFM, with the aim of improving the profitability and sustainability of the Irish pig industry through improved animal health.

The Pig HealthCheck programme currently addresses 5 key areas:

  • Biosecurity: by conducting biosecurity assessments on farm.
  • Animal welfare: by conducting assessments of risk factors for tail biting, based on a tool developed in collaboration with Teagasc, Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine and Animal Health Ireland.
  • Animal health: by capturing, analysing and reporting of abattoir data from ante- and post-mortem (AM/PM) meat inspection, based on the system being developed by DAFM.
  • Antimicrobial usage (AMU): by analysing AMU, using the database created by DAFM for recording AMU by pig farmers and linking these data with health/disease data to demonstrate inter-relationships (e.g. low AMU associated with high health status).
  • Veterinary public health: a review of the National Salmonella Control Programme (NSCP), making recommendations to augment the existing programme by providing direction to increase engagement by both farmers and Veterinary Practitioners with the NSCP and to improve the outcomes achieved.

The veterinary assessments for both biosecurity and tail biting are delivered free of charge by trained Veterinary Practitioners and are funded through Targeted Advisory Service on Animal Health (TASAH) under the Rural Development Programme (2014-2020), with payment made directly to the PVP following completion of the assessment/review. Find out more information about the service.

A key element of the programme will be the development of bench-marking tools to allow farmers to monitor their status for a range of measures and to compare this with the national profile.