Pig Grant Scheme Not Enough to Aid Sector

IRELAND - IFA Pigs Committee Chairman Tim Cullinan said that the introduction of the Pigs Welfare Scheme, while welcome, is not enough to help pig producers comply with the regulations.
calendar icon 21 June 2010
clock icon 3 minute read

Farmers in this sector already have to meet very high animal welfare standards imposed by EU Regulations but the fact remains that these costs are not reflected in market prices.

The IFA Pigs Chairman at the last meeting of the pig meat COPA-COGECA farmer’s union proposed that an extension must be secured to the implementation of these regulations until such time as the sector is profitable.

Mr Cullinan said, "Naturally, a high standard of welfare is off the most utmost importance to Irish pig meat producers but European policies must allow producers to farm in an economically sustainable manner. Pig producers have suffered the worst losses ever recorded in the last number of years between low prices and high feed costs."

"To add to these difficulties, the EU has introduced regulations that add considerable costs to production such as the double regulation of pig farmers under IPPC, while they have failed to introduce legislation that would be off benefit to producers such as a fair labelling system for country of origin."

Mr Cullinan added that the EU is now in negotiations with the Mercosur countries to bring in large quantities of meat whose welfare and environmental credentials have been exposed as non-existent in the past. "In the shadow of such an agreement the EU expects pig producers to invest heavily in animal welfare when, European pig meat could be replaced at any time with a product that is far inferior to what is home produced," he said.

"Minister Brendan Smith must now make it a priority issue to extend the implementation date or secure in Europe provisions to protect Irish farmers from lower standard imports and excessive regulations," Mr Cullinan concluded.

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