Mr Doherty spent the day hearing from Scottish pork producers and industry experts as part of his role as the face of the consumer campaign to encourage people to eat more British pork as part of their everyday diet.
The ‘Put Pork On Your Fork’ (www.putporkonyourfork.co.uk) campaign includes digital marketing, social media and media relations with the aim of educating people on the versatility of British pork.
During a visit to The Hatton farm near Carnoustie, Mr Doherty heard about the strict quality assurance that underpins Scottish pig production and the high welfare standards the industry is proud to maintain.The Hatton farm is a 750 sow outdoor unit run by Brothers Guthrie and Mark Batchelor. It is one of several hundred Scottish pig farms which has been inspected by the Scottish SPCA as part of a ground-breaking welfare-focused initiative led by the Scottish SPCA and Quality Meat Scotland.
The creation of the ‘Specially Selected Pork Approved by the Scottish SPCA’ label has resulted in the UK's first farm assurance and food labeling scheme independently approved by a national animal welfare charity. Participation is voluntary and since inspections got underway in September 2009 farms accounting for more than 99% of quality assured Scottish pig herds have been inspected by the Scottish SPCA.
Mike Flynn, Chief Superintendent at the Scottish SPCA, said: "The creation of this new label demonstrates the high standards of welfare we have seen during today’s visit to Scottish pig farms. Consumers purchasing Specially Selected Pork labelled as approved by the Scottish SPCA can be confident that the product has been sourced from farms where the health and welfare of pigs is a top priority.”
Andy McGowan, head of industry development at Quality Meat Scotland, said: “The integrity of the scheme is founded on the fact that the Scottish SPCA receives no income by charging for the inspections. As a result, consumers can have complete confidence in the impartiality and independence of the inspection process.
“The latest market research shows that animal welfare is at a top priority for consumers when making purchasing decisions. By welcoming Scottish SPCA inspectors onto their farms, Scottish pig producers are allowing them to be the eyes and ears of the wider public, giving consumers total confidence in the high standards of Scottish pig production.”
Jimmy Doherty, said: “I’ve really enjoyed my time visiting Scottish pig farms today to see the fantastic work that’s going on north of the border. Pork really is a tasty and affordable meal option. However, there is more to pork than bacon, sausages and chops, there’s so much more of the pig that we could be enjoying.
"Younger consumers in particular are often unsure of how to cook certain cuts and can be unaware of how simple, healthy and versatile pork is.”
A milestone of the campaign will be “One Pig Weekend”, which takes place over the weekend of 30th-31st July. People are being encouraged to get together with their friends and family to host a pork themed dinner party, with Jimmy hosting his own sausage and beer festival on his farm. As well as celebrating everything that is British pork, ‘One Pig Weekend’ is also a celebration of British pig farming.