7 September 2000
Control your anger, pig farmers told

By FWi staff

A PIG industry leader has urged farmers to resist the temptation to target the government in direct action protests over swine fever compensation payments.

Angry producers have posted numerous emails on the National Pig Association website calling for farmers to take to the streets.

One desperate farmers suggested producers could release their stock in the House of Commons once MPs return.

Pig farmers say they have been driven to this by the governments derisory offer of 35 per pig for animals slaughtered to prevent overcrowding in restriction areas.

Industry leaders say that 100 per animal is a more realistic figure.

But NPA chief executive Mike Sheldon has urged frustrated colleagues to control their anger.

Although the strain on affected producers is unbearable, it is imperative to be patient, and keep a lid on the desire for direct action, he said.

Although there can be no guarantees, we are not that far from success, he insisted.

This comes as the Ministry of Agriculture considers a pig industry proposal to increase payments for pigs slaughtered under its welfare disposal scheme to 65 for pigs over 100kg.

Under the controversial proposal 15 of this would come form the industry, with the other 50 paid by MAFF.

Farm minister Nick Brown spent five hours locked in talks with representatives of the NPA, the National Farmers Union and the Meat and Livestock Commission on Wednesday (06 Sep).

The proposal put forward by NPA, is for:

  • batches averaging less 45kg lwt to be paid 10/head, funded totally by MAFF;

  • batches averaging 45-100kg lwt to be paid 30/head, also funded 100% by MAFF;

  • batches averaging over 100kg lwt to be paid 65/head, with 50 funded by MAFF and the other 15 funded by industry.

    All calculations are based on an assumption of 150k pigs into the scheme in total and the total extra cost is estimated at 4 million.

    The industry contribution would be funded by a statutory producer levy, which could be around 20p a head. This would require legislation, however.

    The controversial scheme has already been criticised by producers.

    The NPA will now consult the industry to see if there is support for the plan. It expects an indication of success or failure from MAFF early next week.