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Producers Demand Immediate Reopening of Plants

by 5m Editor
11 December 2008, at 6:44am

IRELAND - Pig producers mounted a protest at the Department of Agriculture at 12 noon yesterday to demand an immediate re-opening of the country’s processing plants.


Photo: IFA

IFA National Pigs Committee Chairman Tim Cullinan said, “Pig producers whose herds are clear of any contamination have been unable to move their perfectly healthy animals to processors. They are losing sales of €1m per day, which is putting their livelihoods in jeopardy.”

Mr Cullinan said there is extreme frustration among pig producers at the delay in re-opening the country’s major processing plants.

He said, “Pig producers were suffering severe losses every day while supermarket shelf space was being lost to imports.” He said it was unacceptable that a problem on 10 farms could shut down 450 other farms that had no association whatsoever with the affected feed.

Mr Cullinan called on the processors to re-open immediately, in their own interests to demonstrate their reliability in their long-term markets, and to safeguard their future pig supplies.

“Every day the industry is closed down, more pig producers are at risk of going out of business, as their financial pressures intensify.”

He said there was a looming welfare and logistics problem also developing on Irish pig farms.

Mr Trevor Sargent T.D., Minister for Food and Horticulture at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food announced yesterday that his Department had agreed a mechanism to allow for the retailing of certified organic pigmeat products to recommence. A certified organic producer must provide documentary evidence to prove to the Department or Local Authority Veterinary Officers that:

  • No contaminated animal feed material was procured and consumed by animals on the particular farm from 1 September 2008.
  • No pigs which had consumed contaminated material had been introduced onto that particular organic farm. Proof of the herd of origin must be supplied, which shows that no pigs originated from any holding restricted by the Department.

These arrangements apply to products derived from pigs already slaughtered as well as from future slaughterings. The documentary evidence, in the form of feed receipts, herd records and slaughter premises details should be presented to the relevant Department/Local Authority veterinary personnel as appropriate, for clearance of the organic pigmeat products. This clearance process will open the way to access to the special Bord Bia label which is now available and which can be applied to certified organic pigmeat products which are compliant with the new controls.

“I am pleased that this first step has been taken to alleviate the pressures on organic pig producers. The Government is working extremely hard to reach an agreement with the pig processing industry to enable slaughtering to re-commence as quickly as possible”, Minister Sargent concluded.