British pig industry 'disease blitz' plan

UK - An ambitious and far-reaching plan is being drawn up to rip out whole swathes of disease cost from the British pig industry. If it comes off, it will be the biggest and most important initiative ever undertaken by producers.
calendar icon 15 May 2003
clock icon 3 minute read
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NPA is active on members' behalf in Brussels & White-hall, and with pro-cessors, supermarkets & caterers – fighting for the growth and pros-perity of the UK pig industry.

Heavy investment in the future health of the pig industry will help put producers on an equal cost-of-production footing with the Dutch and Danes.

To become reality, this ambitious project to monitor targeted economically-important diseases, and then reduce or eradicate them in every herd, will require considerable financial commitment by government, and probably by levypayers as well.

But given that vet-and-med costs are now not that far behind feed and labour on some units, the potential rewards could be considerable.

A group of 12 Scottish pig producers have shown the way ahead with a pilot health monitoring scheme that's been running for a year and next month will be rolled out to all Scottish pig producers, funded by Seerad (the Scottish Executive Environment and Rural Affairs Department) and Scottish levy money.

Grampian Pig Producers - who devised the Scottish scheme and have been funding it to the tune of about 12p per slaughter pig during its pilot year - are clear that the benefits are already considerable. Managing director Gordon Mcken envisages the stamping out of some diseases altogether, region by region.

His commitment to the plan is shared by Scottish NFU pigs and poultry chairman Andrew Peddie. 'Scottish producers will be required to actively pay towards the monitoring at some stage but when they see the benefits I think they will accept it.'

It is too early to predict in detail how a British health plan would work and how the English and Scottish schemes would merge or interact.

Initially it will be important to get the wholehearted support of a majority of English producers, most of whom will want to see serious facts and figures before they agree to paying extra levy and/or the diverting of promotion funds to the project.

But if a national ten-year health plan gets producer and government support it could deliver a payback of about 310 a pig.
(Full report in current issue of Pig World Magazine).

Source: National Pig Association - By Digby Scott - 15th May 2003

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