Key issues for the British pig industry

by 5m Editor
21 April 2004, at 12:00am

UK - An update by Ann Peterson, NPA policy manager.


NPA Logo

NPA is active on members' behalf in Brussels & Whitehall, and with processors, supermarkets & caterers – fighting for the growth and pros-perity of the UK pig industry.


  • Food products need to be clearly and prominently labelled so that consumers cannot be mislead on its origin.

  • April 2004 "Porkwatch " survey indicated that less than a quarter of bacon sold by supermarkets, and only ten per cent of the ham, carried the British Quality Standard Mark. This means that most of the bacon and ham sold is produced by methods that would be illegal in this country.

  • Retailers should support the British pig industry and use the QSM label to increase the awareness and commitment British producers have made in animal welfare, quality assurance and food safety standards guaranteed by the Mark


  • Stamping out imports of contaminated meat and meat products is a crucial first step by government in disease prevention. This is not only in the interests of animal health. A MORI poll, commissioned by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) states that 86% of the public think illegal meat imports are a risk to public health (3 March 2004).

  • The government must take more convincing and effective action to curb these risks to national biosecurity levels.

  • A great deal can be learned on techniques of import control and customs clearance from countries such as the USA, Canada and Australia. We would encourage the government to seek out best practice and emulate it.

Fallen stock

By the end of April 2004, and with a deadline for compliance to new regulations by 31st December...

  • There is no comparative data to evaluate the national disposal scheme.

  • No hard information on the regulations and possible cost of ash disposal.

  • Few incinerator manufacturers yet in a position to offer 'type approved' machines as replacements for non-conforming machines.


  • Notifiable diseases - government should pay compensation to safeguard national biosecurity, effective surveillance and contingency planning.

  • Swill - the NPA continues to lobby for compensation to processors, who lost their business following the government ban on swill feeding.

Livestock data

  • The industry - and government - badly need an up to date reliable database to locate all pig keepers, including non-commercial and pet owners.

  • Confidentiality of information is key, especially to prevent activists from threatening the welfare of stock and families, whose homes are alongside the unit.

Slaughter or vaccination?

  • As the jury is still out on marker vaccines, slaughter will remain the first option with a largely unknown virus presence. The nature of any future outbreak will require a suitably flexible response to contain and eradicate it - vaccination will be one of the tools to employ.

Feral pigs

  • Government must eradicate feral pigs, as a reservoir of disease, and associated health risks.

Farrowing crates

  • Scientific studies are investigating the possible options to farrowing crates which currently appear to present the best welfare system to safeguarding the health and welfare of sow and her piglets.

Source: National Pig Association - 21st April 2004

5m Editor