More about herdmark slapping...

UK - Notwithstanding Defra's insistence on 'herdmark' slapping from next month, producers will still be able to slap pigs with additional information for their own management purposes.
calendar icon 19 September 2003
clock icon 3 minute read

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It should be in order to use space below the Defra herdmark for a 'subscript' which could, for instance, identify pigs from different buildings, or those taking part in a feed trial.

Producers and processors remain in two minds about the enforced changeover to herdmark slapping. Almost to a man the industry failed to respond to Ian Campbell's request for feedback when he was in difficult negotiations with Defra over revising the Primo rules. There's plenty of feedback now, but it is too late. Herdmark slapping will be a legal requirement from next month.

Much of the concern is caused by the fact that some producers don't appear to have a herdmark. 'If you don't know yours, get in touch with your local Animal Health Division Office or ring 0845 0509876, the Defra helpline,' advises NPA's Ian Campbell.

'Remember, if you haven't got a herdmark, your pig unit is not registered and it needs to be. It is the responsibility of the pig keeper not the owner.'

Holdings may apply for more than one herdmark to be registered against them thus ensuring unique marks per herd. There is no obvious limit to this, so a site with three distinct finishing houses could in theory apply for three herdmarks.

The changeover to the Defra herdmark means producers will have to change their plates. 'The processors are pleased they will be seeing fresh slapmarks,' said Stewart Houston, NPA Producer Group chairman. 'Or at least they will for a few months… until the needles get clogged up.'

Source: National Pig Association 19th September 2003

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