while officials press EC over pigs
MAFF officials and pig industry leaders are continuing to lobby European Commission officials in a bid to safeguard UKs £28m pig breeding industry.
Junior farm minister Angela Browning said MAFF officials had already met European Commission representatives to discuss the threat the EU transport directive presents to the industry. But she said she was prepared to take up the issue with EU farm commissioner Franz Fischler.
The directive, due to come into force in December, requires hauliers to unload pigs after 24 hours and rest them in lairage facilities.
Pig industry leaders say the rules threaten breeding pig exports and may force breeding units to move out of the UK.
John Godfrey, British Pig Association chairman, said the BPA would hold a meeting in Brussels, in conjunction with the state veterinary service, to fight to keep the status-quo.
"Our lorries already have watering and feeding facilities and it is illogical to take pigs off the vehicle and subject them to stress and the possibility of picking up other diseases.
"If the legislation goes through, it will change the basis of the whole industry. Breeding companies will have to look very seriously at setting up multiplication units abroad, which would obviously be very detrimental to our industry." *