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No time to waste

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

UK - The prospect of a one-person business having to find the top side of 33,000 and then over 32,000 12 months later just to be allowed to stay in business is a daunting thought.

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The reality is that in order to comply with Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control regulations, pig farmers with more than 2,000 finishing pig places will have to face this challenge within less than three years.

A knee-jerk reaction might be to reduce capacity to under 2,000 places but this might turn out to be the first of several backward steps that could lead to the demise of the pig businesses of efficient hard-working individuals. When the now long defunct Ministry of Transport first brought in MOT tests for private cars, a certificate was only required for vehicles more than ten years old.

By degrees this criterion was tightened so that present legislation demands an annual inspection for all cars over three years old. Likewise, it seems highly probable that once the Environment Agency has whetted its teeth on the UK pig industry, over the years the legislative bite will tighten. Given that there are some 800 million pigs in the world, the global legislators have a wide canvas.

Farmers who opt to play the numbers game, sooner or later seem likely to become ensnared in legislation aimed at improving the environment. Some have expressed dismay at the insensitivity and injustice associated with imposing a 'community charge' on the struggling pig sector which endeavours to provide consumers with wholesome, home-produced meat. This cause should be pursued through the appropriate lobby groups.

The first priority, however, is for those who currently keep 'large' numbers of pigs to ask themselves if they intend remaining in business after 2007. This is a fundamental issue - those without permits will be closed down. There is an urgent need for those committed to a future in the pig industry to get themselves clued-up about IPPC requirements and then decide on a specific plan of action for their own farm. A steep learning curve will have to be ascended and it will demand time and effort.

Source: Pork Chain Solutions - 7th April 2004

5m Editor