Cull sow crisis - Pirbright to blame and Government must help, NOW

UK - Far from being nearly over, the cull sow crisis in Britain is just beginning, says the NPA.
calendar icon 29 October 2007
clock icon 3 minute read
Notes from last week's Hansard report say that there are no plans to introduce a Sow Welfare Disposal scheme.

In the report Jonathan Shaw said:
"Welfare issues arising from foot and mouth disease and blue tongue control measures were being dealt with on a case-by-case basis through the use of special movement licences or measures to support the farmer in their duty of care towards their animals.

"This includes the provision of advice, temporary shelter and access to supplementary feed.

"We are working to ensure that sufficient slaughter capacity is available, particularly for farmers in the blue tongue restriction zone, and would urge farmers facing welfare problems to move animals to slaughter wherever practicable and permitted by disease control restrictions."

Mounting anger
On NPA's website, market specialist and auctioneer Peter Crichton was enraged. He has a potential waiting list of over 9,000 cull sows to deal with and says a disposal scheme is vital.

"I have been involved in the slaughter and export of sows to Holland via Barbers' abattoir in Essex for many years. Some [of these sows] may now have to wait until after Christmas to be cleared during which time they will be eating food costing £5 a week (twice as much a year ago) realising cull prices of less than half in October 2006.

"These are the facts and it is why we need a welfare slaughter disposal scheme NOW to help alleviate the disaster that has been inflicted on the livestock industry by the escape of foot and mouth from Pirbright in the first place."

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