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Twenty percent of pigs are poorly slapped

8 September 2003, at 12:00am

UK - Pig producers will have to slap their pigs a good deal more conscientiously if NPA is to persuade Defra that a single slap will suffice, rather than a slap on each shoulder.

Currently, around twenty percent of all pigs sent for slaughter are poorly slapped. This causes problems correctly establishing ownership, increasing administrative costs and affecting speed and accuracy of payment.

"We market over a million producers' pigs annually and over 20 percent of all deliveries to abattoirs have had problems with poor slapmarking," says Louise Collins who is responsible for coordinating payments to Porcofram's producers.

"For instance, in one recent load of 80 pigs, there were eleven with unreadable slapmarks. This results from poor slapping techniques on the supplying units, over-inking of the slap and the use of slaps with dirty or broken needles which also carries a risk of infection.

"In France and Denmark, strict attention is given to correct slapping. Producers are 'disciplined' into slapmarking correctly and, through their supply contracts, are financially penalised if they fail to do so.

"It will be even more important for them to do the job properly when the new Defra slapping regulations come into force. Pigs will then have to have a six digit slap mark on each shoulder which can be cross-referenced on Defra's database."

She says, producers will need to take extra care in slapping the new six figure mark and will have to ensure their slaps are kept clean and in good condition and applied carefully.

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