Pig farmers in Egypt have clashed with police as they resisted government officials sent to cull pigs as a precaution against swine flu.

More than 1000 farmers gathered to protest against the government’s decision to cull the country’s national herd in a bid to quell panic over the H1N1 virus.

Fourteen demonstrators were arrested after pig farmers armed with stones and bottles blocked roads leading to their pig pens in the Manishyet Nasr area of Cairo.

Seven policemen were injured as officers charged at the protestors in armoured cars and fired tear gas before surrounding the neighbourhood, news agency Reuters said.

The government decided to cull the nation’s 300,000 pig herd last week, despite the World Health Organisation’s reassurances that the virus was being spread through humans.

Officials in Egypt have justified the cull as also being part of a campaign against unsanitary pig farming conditions in the country’s slums.