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Parliament Promises to Look at Pig Industry Again

by 5m Editor
5 February 2009, at 1:22pm

SCOTLAND - The Rural Affairs and the Environment Committee in the Scottish Parliament has decided to give further attention to Scotland’s pig industry, following yesterday’s discussion on the sector, to which NFU Scotland submitted evidence.

The gesture follows a concerted effort by the industry to get the Scottish Government to re-consider its unsatisfactory ‘pigs package’, which was produced following a report by the Scottish Pig Industry Taskforce in the summer of 2008. The Taskforce’s recommendations were largely ignored, much to the chagrin of the Taskforce’s committee members and the wider industry.

NFU Scotland is committed to working with the Scottish Government on the alternative package of measures that it subsequently announced.

Peter Loggie, NFU Scotland’s Pigs Policy Manager said, "The Rural Affairs Committee expressed its intentions today to hold an evidence-taking session with representatives of the pig industry and Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment, Richard Lochhead."

"Members of the Committee pointed to a number of difficulties which the industry is currently facing, namely volatile returns; declining sow numbers; animal welfare legislation which puts British producers at a disadvantage with their European counterparts; the prospect of expensive investments to meet Nitrate Vulnerable Zone (NVZ) legislation and the difficulty of applying for schemes under the Scotland Rural Development Plan (SRDP). NFU Scotland would welcome discussions on all these issues," Mr Loggie said.

He said the Committee also acknowledged the findings of a recent House of Commons report on the English Pig Industry, which recommended that Defra and the Scottish Government engage in discussions on issues facing producers in England and Scotland. "The Scottish Government’s Pigs Package allotted funding to study labelling and this is an issue on which there is certainly scope for movement by the UK and the EU as retailers are still labelling pigmeat which has been reared in the EU as British, simply because the meat has been processed on UK soil," Mr Loggie added.

"We congratulate the Committee for standing up for Scottish pig producers as they are confident of little else at the moment. We look forward to working constructively with MSPs and the Scottish Government to restore faith and viability to Scotland’s pig industry," he concluded.