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Slaughtering Suspended

by 5m Editor
3 July 2010, at 7:06am

UK - Unfortunately prices were not as hot as the weather and although the DAPP took another upward step to stand at 147.31p (up 0.51p from the previous week), this was due to lighter and leaner pigs going through the sample rather than any actual increase in prices the previous week, writes Peter Crichton.

Spot buyers tended to be fairly coy and although the current heatwave should help barbecue demand, other parts of the pig especially the loin are still proving hard to sell.

The relatively low value of the euro which closed on Friday worth 82.8p is also having a negative effect on the market with much cheaper imported pigmeat still posing a significant challenge. As a result base prices and spot quotes tended to drift down by 1-2p, but spot bacon traded at around the 147p mark and modest premiums still available for lighter weights from some outlets.

In the cull sow market the shock news of the day was the decision by A and G Barber Limited to suspend all cull sow/boar slaughtering at their Essex abattoir following the release of undercover video footage of what can only be described as totally unacceptable handling and stunning of pigs by Eastern European agency workers for a limited period last April.

Whilst there are no excuses for this, questions have to be asked why these people were not more closely supervised by the MHS vets who are responsible for ensuring that animal welfare and biosecurity standards are fully maintained.

A and G Barber Limited accounted for approximately 25 per cent of the United Kingdom weekly cull sow throughput of circa 3,500 head and although their closure will affect the pig industry as a whole, prices only moved down a shade more due to reduced demand in mainland Europe rather than the loss of a major United Kingdom cull sow slaughtering outlet.

Quotes for large loads of sows were up to 98p with the majority between 94-96p and it was refreshing to see that prices have remained in line with European levels.

Often in life where one door shuts another opens and it will be interesting to see how the market copes with the situation in the months ahead.

Weaner prices have eased back from recent levels with the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board 30kg ex-farm average slipping to 353.74, but still plenty of demand for large batches of 7kg and 30kg weaners aimed at the autumn finished pig market, but once again buyers are insisting that they have been treated with the Circoflex vaccine.

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