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3Million Breeding Stock Order in Jeopardy

by 5m Editor
9 August 2007, at 6:13pm

UK - Orders for breeding stock from Russia, worth 31 million to Yorkshire-based pig-breeding company ACMC and due to be shipped in September and November, have been placed in jeopardy as a result of the foot-and-mouth (FMD) outbreak, says the company.

It also predicts severe financial upheaval for the pig industry as a whole.

"Parts of the pig carcase which have little or no value on the home market are exported to the Far East. If this export market is closed, British pigmeat processors will have to dispose of these unwanted parts at a cost," said Stephen Curtis, ACMC chairman.

During the last FMD outbreak processors simply passed on these overheads to producers by paying £10-£15 per pig less. But, if the same happens this time, it would cost British pig farmers £7.5 million to £8 million a month or up to £90million in a year.

Mr Curtis said that the UK pig industry was already in a fragile state — having halved in size over the past decade — and has suffered successive blows from imported diseases, including PMWS (wasting disease) and swine fever, due to poor national bio-security.

He suggests that the Government should declare a large section of Britain an 'official zone of freedom' to allow business as usual in this area.

"This would send a strong message out to governments internationally that the FMD outbreak was a freak as opposed to an epidemic. This, in turn, would encourage them to allow imports of meat products and live animals from the "free zone", thus relieving the financial pressure on an already hard-pressed industry," he added.

5m Editor