9 October 2000
‘Government lacks swine-fever strategy’

By FWi staff

PIG farmers caught up in the swine-fever crisis have accused the Ministry of Agriculture of having no long-term strategy to deal with the outbreak.

Chris Eglington and Gareth Rowe, whose Norfolk pig farm is caught up in a restriction zone, are disappointed with the way the ministry has coped.

The pair, whose 6000-strong herd has doubled during the crisis, told the BBC Radio 4 Farming Today programme there is little continuity with vets.

And some of the vets drafted in to East Anglia have little experience of dealing with pigs, they claim.

Mr Rowe said: “Vets are swapped round every two and three weeks, come from different parts of the country, and are not particularly experienced in dealing with pigs.”

Mr Eglington said: “Weve had vets turn up and try to take blood samples from tails. Thats what you do with cattle but with pigs, you take from the neck.

The producer was surprised that these vets were unaware of this. “Surely they must know,” he said.

Mr Rowe said producers were focused on the need to move pigs and keep the industry going.

Meanwhile the ministry was focused on the need to control pig movements and eradicate the disease, he added.

“These two things need to be brought together and as yet that doesnt seem to be happening, ” claimed Mr Rowe.

The producers called for full compensation and licensing for pigs from outdoor herd to go to indoor herds.

Mr Rowe added that he had encountered a lack of understanding from bankers, who suggested he stop feeding pigs to ease financial problems.