8 September 2000
Brown agrees to NPA support plan

By FWi staff

FARM minister Nick Brown has accepted a welfare support package suggested by the National Pig Association for farmers affected by swine fever restrictions.

The announcement by the minister follows further discussions with the National Farmers Union and the National Pig Association.

MAFFs original offer of 35 per pig was dismissed as derisory by producers who said they were due 100 for each animals culled to prevent overcrowding in surveillance zones.

The ministry said it changed its mind because new outbreaks mean some producers will face extended restrictions, and because the NPA has proposed a 20p levy on all pigs to help meet costs.

Where animals up to 45 kgs live weight need to be culled to address over-crowding and other animal welfare problems resulting from the movement restrictions, a flat fee of 10 per pig will be paid.

A flat rate of 30 per pig for each batch averaging between 45 kgs and 100 kgs per pig will be paid.

And on batches of animals averaging over 100 kgs 65 will be paid. In this category the Government will pay 50 per pig, with an industry levy contributing the balance of 15.

This is in addition to the costs of transport, slaughter and disposal of these animals, which is paid for by the Government.

Payments will be retrospective to cover all animals taken under the scheme, including those already submitted.

Subject to Parliamentary approval and the results of an industry consultation, the 20p levy will be introduced and collected by the Meat and Livestock Commission, using procedures already in place.

As a state aid, clearance from the European Commission is also required.

Once the levy is in place, producers who receive the 50/pig payment will have that payment topped up by an additional 15/pig.

Commenting on these measures Nick Brown said :

“This scheme is designed to help farmers address the animal welfare problems associated with the extended period of movement restriction needed to combat the spread of classical swine fever.

It reflects the exceptionally difficult circumstances pig farmers are going through. The Governments top priority remains the containment and eradication of this disease.

The burden of the restrictions are carried by those farmers affected by them, but the restrictions are for the benefit of the industry as a whole.

I am therefore pleased that the industry is supporting a financial contribution to the consequences of the movement restrictions.

I am also pleased by the NFU commitment to review with MAFF and the Treasury the longer term implications for disease control in modern industry conditions.