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Government has no concept: Cull sow disposal scheme is needed now

by 5m Editor
11 October 2007, at 1:01pm

UK - Does government really understand what the cull sow crisis is about? Producer Stuart Bosworth is helping NPA pull out the stops to make the reality clear. His local MP Eric Pickles is supportive and has tabled a question about a sow welfare disposal scheme.

If others write to their MPs, perhaps more questions will be tabled, says NPA. Government needs to understand that even if exports resume fully tomorrow — it will still take until Christmas to clear the backlog. The welfare situation is very urgent and will be ongoing for the next three months.

An excellent letter was written by Stuart Bosworth. In it he said:
  • The details of Hilary Benn's £12.5 million support package for farmers in England affected by the current movement restrictions in place to control foot and mouth disease did not help.
  • As pig producers are not hill farmers, they will not be receiving a one-off payment from the £8.5 million of support.
  • Without membership to the National Fallen Stock Scheme for biosecurity reasons, there was no benefit from the £1 million additional subsidy for farmers in the foot and mouth risk area.
  • And, unless you were seeking advice, or practical and emotional support from a farming charity, you would not benefit from the contribution of up to £1 million to such charities.
  • As for the £2 million for promotion and marketing of lamb, beef and pork on the domestic and export markets, there was no domestic market for sow meat and currently no export market for meat from cull sows, because the abattoirs, due to their location relative to Pirbright, Surrey, are not allowed to export meat.
  • In essence, there was nothing in this package to support pig farmers in getting a realistic price for cull sows. What's more every day that the sows remained on farm was costing a pig business in the region of £3 a sow.
These non-productive animals are now building up on most units. They are eating expensive food and filling pens where productive animals should be - it is creating a welfare problem and a disposal scheme is desperately needed. The government set up the Sow Welfare Disposal Scheme following the 2001 foot and mouth outbreak and it needs to do it again, now.

To read Stuart Bosworth's letter click here, and see news

5m Editor