Twenty-five years ago, there was relatively little concern as to where food came from and how the animals that produced it were reared. But one man, Wiltshire farmer Cameron Naughton, was determined from the outset to rear his pigs differently.
He was one of the first farmers in the country to sign up to RSPCA Assured - the RSPCA’s higher welfare farm assurance and food labelling scheme. This year, RSPCA Assured is celebrating its 25th Anniversary – and the hard work and dedication of farmers, like Cameron, who have been long term members.
Raised on a farm with a father who helped pioneer outdoor pig breeding in the 1950s, Cameron never strayed far from his pig farming roots.
Taking over the family farm business in 2002, at the picturesque West End Farm near Devizes in Wiltshire, Cameron set about looking for customers who understood what goes into looking after pigs to higher welfare standards - and who would be prepared to pay the extra for what Cameron believes is a much higher quality product.
“The fact that being a higher welfare pig farmer didn’t attract any significant premium back in the late 1980s was frustrating, and it was a real challenge to make ends meet. But more recently, we have seen a real shift in thinking. It’s still not easy to find customers who get what we do here and who are prepared to pay a premium – but we are making progress.
Customers who have really bought into our methods include Walter Rose and Son in Devizes, Creed Food Service in Gloucester, and Dorset based DB Foods. They have all helped massively to keep our farm viable. We have also made progress with a couple of supermarkets who are gradually waking up to the improved quality of higher welfare pork.”