The National Pig Association has submitted a plea to the Cabinet Office for the simplification of rules and regulations being faced by the pig industry.

They have also asked legislators for clarity on whether new codes and regulations are seeking to benefit animal welfare or the environment.

NPA policy manager, Ann Petersson, said: “The pig industry cannot pass on regulatory costs, unlike other industries, as market forces, not the cost of production, dictate producer prices.”

Additional layers of bureaucracy are adding significant costs to the end product with UK pig producers responsible for a greater proportion of animal welfare and environmental costs than their EU counterparts.

There are also calls for the government to avoid duplicating inspections which are both time consuming and can pose bio-security risks.

Most pig units currently receive a whole series of different inspections.

These include quarterly Farm Assurance Scheme visits, Nitrate Vulnerable Zone inspections, cross compliance visits and Health and Safety checks.

And after the end of next year, larger units will also be involved in Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control compliance.

Multiple visits could be avoided by further development of the Whole Farm Appraisal pilot scheme launched by DEFRA in November 2003.

The WFA scheme would concentrate a whole series of different inspection procedures into one annual visit. 

This would include land use, employment issues, livestock census details, animal health and welfare compliance, safety at work, the safe storage of fuels, chemicals and medicines, and emergency planning.