Pig Industry Gets Royal Backing

UK - The British pig industry has been given royal backing, calling for support for pig farmers.
calendar icon 16 May 2008
clock icon 5 minute read
HRH Prince Charles

The Prince of Wales has sent the industry a letter of support, urging consumers to support the sector.

The statement was read out at the Pig and Poultry Fair in the UK this week.

The statement said: "I could not be more please to have this opportunity of sending my warmest good wishes to all the exhibitors at this year's Pig and Poultry event at the National Agricultural Centre.

"I particularly want to take this opportunity to express my deep concern for the pig sector which, I know, is going through an immensely difficult time.

"My heart goes out to all those farmers who are facing such desperate problems as a result of the huge rise in feed costs.

"Thanks to the enormous efforts of BPEX and the National Pig Association, there is a growing awareness of the problem and those retailers who are raising their prices as a result should be congratulated.

"However, little, if any, of the increase is being passed down the chain to the farmer and, unless urgent action is taken, this country's pig sector, which has never received subsidies, could be decimated.

"This would be a tragedy for this country, which produces some of the finest quality pigs and which operates according to the highest standards of husbandry and animal welfare - for instance, 40 per cent of British pigs are reared outdoors, something unique in Europe.

"I can only urge consumers to do everything they can to support British pig farmers by buying pork, bacon, ham and sausages, which bear the Quality Standard Mark, or which are clearly organic or free-range pigs raised by British breeders.

"I can only pray that in due course the fortunes of our pig farmers will be transformed and that next year's Pig and Poultry Fair will be a cause for celebrating a revitalised pig sector."

BPEX CEO Mick Sloyan
At the fair, the CEO of BPEX Mick Sloyan said that the whole market had been dominated by feed costs in recent times.

He said it was not just the price of corn that had hit the producers, but also soya which had doubled in price and he said that the effects of feed costs were not restricted to the UK but was a problem around the world.

Mr Sloyan added that the market in the UK for imports and exports has also been severely affected by the change in the rate of sterling against the Euro.

He said that part of the effect of feed price rises and exchange rate changes was the reduction in the European pig herd.

"We are going to see considerable signs of a reduction in the European breeding herd," he said.

"It is going to be a considerably tighter market, but feed is really a global issue."

He said that in North America Canada is cutting its herd and the US is reducing output.

"There is going to be a tightening of the market and at the same time a growth in consumption.

"I think we are going to see a strong market going into 2008 -2009."

Across Europe, Germany has seen a two per cent increase in sow slaughterings and in Hungary sow numbers have fallen by 10 per cent and in Poland by 11 per cent.

In the UK the industry has been receiving a positive response to its promotional campaigns and analysts TNS have shown a six per cent rise in pork sales.

He said the industry is running an integrated campaign to support producers, principally advising how to use expensive feed more efficiently. He said the PCV2 research project that will be running to the end of the year was proving a success and the mass vaccination trial was running across most if not all of the country.

He said there had been applications for vaccination for 206,000 sows - 55 per cent of the herd and he was hoping this would be raised to 75 per cent of the breeding herd.

"Producers are staring to see an impact," he said.
View the UK Pig Market Update by clicking here.
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