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Support national collection scheme..

by 5m Editor
17 April 2003, at 12:00am

UK - All pig producers should consider joining the national collection scheme for fallen stock announced by Defra this week, says the National Pig Association.

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THE VOICE OF THE UK PIG INDUSTRY

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Even those with alternative means of disposal should sign up to the scheme as this will ensure it is a success and therefore always available as a stand-by, advises executive director Stewart Houston.

"Although I have an incinerator on my unit, I will be signing up anyway," he said.

With annual subscription costs ranging from 350 to 3200 a year, the scheme represents good value for all livestock farmers but particularly for pig producers who continue to experience health pressures as a result of movement controls imposed during the foot and mouth outbreak two years ago.

Although the scheme represents a sensible solution to the fallen stock problem created by the EU Animal By-products Regulation (which comes into force next month) the small print has yet to be agreed.

Top of NPA's agenda is to negotiate strict biosecurity measures to ensure that collection of carcases does not create a risk of spreading disease, particularly serious imported diseases such as foot and mouth and classical swine fever.

"We will be suggesting to Defra that the scheme includes appropriate biosecurity measures," said Mr Houston.

"Professional pig producers are well aware of the need for strict biosecurity at all times and they would expect us to ensure that, for instance, collection of carcases takes place some distance from pig units and that there is a suitable biosecure barrier between carcase deposit and carcase collection.

"We take it as read that all producers will introduce strict washing and disinfecting protocols and we know many will want to go well beyond any guidelines laid down by Defra and the NPA.

"It is important that other livestock producers adopt similar measures. Following classical swine fever in 2000 and foot and mouth in 2001, we should all be aware that it is impossible to be too cautious where disease is concerned."

Another issue of concern to NPA is the degressive nature of government support for the national collection scheme.

"Even if the scheme were to lose all government funding after a year or two, it is still good value for the short term and worth supporting on that basis. But obviously we want it to be a long term solution to carcase disposal problems and therefore it is important that government monitors the costs and continues to support it financially for as long as necessary."

NPA has welcomed Defra's pledge to enforce the regulations with a "light touch", and to advise enforcement agencies accordingly, as this will give producers time to adjust to the new rules on disposal of fallen stock. The national collection scheme will not be in place for several months.

It urges all pig producers to make sensible arrangements for carcase disposal during what will be an extremely difficult interim period.

Meanwhile the rules surrounding incineration remain unclear. Producers buying a low capacity incinerator should therefore insist that the supplier provides an unqualified written guarantee that the appliance will perform to the standard required by the regulations and is of the correct design.

From May 1, the only legal methods of carcase disposal will be rendering, incineration or hunt kennels. All livestock farmers will receive a letter from government this week asking them to support the UK subscription scheme for the collection and disposal of fallen stock.

Deadline for farmers to express initial interest in joining the subscription scheme is May 6. The government hopes to get the scheme up and running in the next few months if there is support from more than 50 per cent of livestock holdings in the UK.

The package of material being sent to farmers will include details about how the scheme will work and what it will cost, some examples of how the scheme can save money, and Q&As on the collection and disposal of fallen stock, and guidance on on-farm incinerators.

For further information click on the following links:

An alternative view: "The biosecurity risk is too high", By Mike Sheldon, NPA

How carcase collection scheme will work - NPA

DEFRA canvasses support for subscription scheme on fallen stock disposal - DEFRA



Source: National Pig Association - April 2003

5m Editor