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Genetics firm calls for cordon sanitaire

by 5m Editor
28 July 2004, at 12:00am

UK - The British pig industry must impose its own cordon sanitaire, says Stephen Curtis, executive chairman of genetics company ACMC.

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"I hope you can understand and sense the fear that we have," he said today. "If we are hit yet again there is only one outcome - non-profitable production and thus no British pig industry."

He says the industry should discipline itself not to import weaners or semen. "At ACMC we are extremely concerned, so we are funding full-page advertisements in the next three issues of Pig World. This might ruffle a few feathers but it is a small price to pay to help the industry survive.

"The British pig industry has no reserves left. We sincerely hope that pig farmers no matter how large or how small will think about this."

The advertisement for ACMC's cordon sanitaire campaign urges producers to sign up to a petition, which will be sent to industry bodies for further action.

It highlights a range of diseases - FMD, CSF, SVD, TGE, Parvo Virus, PRRS, Aujeszky's, PMWS, PDNS and Fertility Virus - that didn't start in Britain but which pose a threat to British producers.

Stephen Curtis says he is appalled by reports that weaners from other countries could be imported to Britain. "We have just sold off a major share of our slaughter processing industry and now we are considering substituting our commercial pig breeding production to have supply from high disease risk countries, what next?"

Disease represents a catastrophic danger, he says. "Our industry cannot afford another adverse hit through disease. In fact we can't sustain any of the following… currency exchange making the 31 strong (out of our control); hiked feed prices (out of our control); low pig prices (out of our control); or yet another countrywide disease break (partially within our control if we create our own industry discipline, a cordon sanitaire)."

He asks if imported weaners would be descendants of sows housed in stalls, if they would comply with all British industry standards, and whether slaughter processors will support British producers by only slaughtering pigs born in this country.

And he says it must be understood that his campaign is not an attempt to promote ACMC breeding stock sales by making life more difficult for foreign competitors. "Britain has plenty of breeding stock supply companies to ensure good and free competition, which in turn ensures the commercial producer gets good value. As a country we have enough genetic material to satisfy all our current needs.

"In any event, new blood stock importation could and should go through an agreed industry controlling body which would discipline protocols to ensure minimal disease risks."

Source: National Pig Association - 28th July 2004

5m Editor