Animal Welfare

In 2019, we were awarded the highest Tier 1 ranking in a privately commissioned, independent assessment by the Business Benchmark for Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW).

We are awaiting another independent assessment against the most recent criteria this coming summer where we hope to maintain our Tier 1 status.

BBFAW, supported by Compassion in World Farming and Four Paws, is the leading measure of company performance on farm animal welfare, looking at published evidence of animal welfare management, policy commitment, performance and reporting.

You can learn more about animal welfare and Pilgrim’s UK by reading our Animal Welfare 2020 Policy which you can download here.



We rank the importance of animal welfare right up there, alongside the health and safety of our people. 

In 2019, in a specially commissioned assessment, BBFAW acknowledged the high welfare status of Pilgrim’s UK pig supply chains by awarding them the highest Tier 1 status. This status rightfully confirms Pilgrim’s UK position as a champion of farm animal welfare, both as a food processor and pig producer. 


Healthy pigs are happy, productive pigs and we continually invest in strategies to improve the health and well-being of the pigs within BQP, our own higher welfare supply chain. As strong believers in preventative medicine and the responsible use of medications, our initiatives include both population-based and tailored vaccination programmes and on-farm hygiene and biosecurity programmes, as well as the strategic use of herd repopulations, among others. Through these approaches we are able to safeguard, maintain and improve the health of our pigs.

Attached here is our update on Tail Biting projects at BQP – January 2020.


Antimicrobial stewardship is a key driver for the business, with evidence-based prescribing and responsible use of medicines at the core of all we do. On antibiotic use, we believe in the Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture Alliance (RUMA) principle of ‘as little as possible, but as much as necessary’. Our industry-leading work to improve pig health and welfare has meant that antibiotic usage in our own higher welfare supply chain ‘BQP’ has been consistently lower than UK industry targets. 

We support and remain at the forefront of industry initiatives on antimicrobial stewardship, working with cross-sector industry initiative groups to drive change. 

You can learn more about our high animal welfare standards here

BQP is the UK’s leading pig farming operation and the largest with a long heritage of innovation and development of higher welfare standards for outdoor bred, free range and organic pigs in the UK. 

We produce approximately 40% of all UK higher welfare pigs each year, which are all assured to Red Tractor/Quality Meat Scotland, RSPCA independent assurance and our own rigorous company standards. 

Breeding Herd

Growing Herd

The BQP Farming Model

Our farming model is fully vertically integrated from field to fork, ensuring animal welfare and sustainability at every stage. We work with around 340 farming partners to produce our high welfare pigs.

Our contract pig farming model has worked successfully for over 40 years and has allowed many young entrants to establish themselves in the farming industry and grow further with us over time. 

Several of our farmers have been with us for many years and we are now working with the grandchildren of some of our original farmers – a success story across the generations.

How it works

Our dedicated team at BQP control and manage all aspects including pig genetics, pig feed, veterinary support, production and management standards, and livestock transportation. Farmers are paid a management fee that enables the pigs to be kept to the standards we expect.

Our contracted farmers provide the buildings, labour and machinery, water, on-farm costs and straw to manage the BQP pigs to the highest welfare standards.

Are you interested in a Farming Opportunity with BQP?
Meet our farmers

Our farming partners are very important to us and we are proud of the number of new entrants to pig farming we have introduced over many years. Some of our family farms have been working with us for three generations.  

Livestock haulage

We operate our own Red Tractor and RSPCA assured dedicated livestock haulage fleet with fully trained drivers ensuring maximum control and standards.  

Technical & R&D

We are constantly looking for ways to improve what we do, responsibly and sustainably, whether in pig health, welfare or performance. BQP’s skilled and experienced technical and research and development team is responsible for evaluating and implementing new products, technologies and farming practices before they are rolled out to the wider BQP business.

Our state of the art trials farm, which collaborates with a number of universities and commercial businesses and undertakes projects to keep us front and centre of sustainable agriculture R & D.


We are proud to lead the UK pig industry in both technical development and feed innovation.

We have our own experienced nutritioists and scientists who are responsible for all aspects of feed purchase, formulation ensuring that sustainable feeds are delivered efferently to our pigs to maximise their health, welfare and performance.


BQP is proud of the awards our farmers have won for their ongoing efforts to deliver the best in pig health and welfare, and as guardians of the environment. Here is a selection of recent awards:

BQP has held the CIWF Good Pig Award since 2012.

Pig Farmer of the Year’
Farmers Weekly ‘Pig Farmer of the Year’ in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 and Young Farmer of the Year award in 2019.

2019 Winner – National Pig Awards

National Pig Awards – numerous awards every year since its start including Outdoor Pig Producer of the Year and Innovations award in 2019.


Our Farming Supply Chain

In addition to BQP we work closely with some of the UK’s leading independent pig producers to supply the highest quality pork to our customers. 

Animal welfare is a priority throughout the supply chain. All our independent farmers are, as a minimum, assured to the Red Tractor/Quality Meat Scotland standard, both of which include a quarterly veterinary assessment and annual independent farm audit.  

Our farmers continuously strive to develop the environmental sustainability of their business by improving on-farm efficiencies, reducing waste and initiatives to enhance sustainable farming practices.

Pig Farming Opportunities

As we grow, we are looking for more farmers to join our successful operation.

For more information about pig farming opportunities with us, please contact: