22 August 1997

Pig transport paper horrendous – BPA

PIG industry leaders have been left horrified by an EU Commission document demanding stringent legislation on the transport of breeding pigs, which if implemented would put the UKs £25m export trade at risk.

The unpublished commission paper threatens to place additional controls on breeding pig transport, including a cut in number of vehicle decks from three to two and in some cases two to one, and new stipulations on temperature and ventilation.

And it hints that if industry wants to have breeding pig staging posts separate from commercial loading and unloading areas, it will have to pay for the additional costs.

The commission may demand that each exporter/breeding company has its own staging post, with the provision to load and unload stock into pens. It is not known whether the commission will insist that breeding pigs will have to be unloaded at staging posts.

Grenville Welsh, British Pig Association chief executive, described the paper as horrendous, calling it a malicious document which aimed to hit the UKs thriving breeding export trade.

"Many of these additional proposals have little scientific background, and these conditions would completely redraw current trading practices. One exporter told me it would be cheaper for the pigs to go by plane. "These conditions will make the trade unviable and not improve overall welfare."

The paper follows calls at the June farm council by farm minister Jack Cunningham to provide separate staging posts for breeding pigs to prevent the spread of disease from commercial animals. Dr Cunningham also argued that loading and unloading of breeding pigs would cause unnecessary stress and possible injury.

With swine fever at epidemic proportions in the Netherlands, the pig industry felt it was essential breeding pigs should have separate conditions to commercial pigs. &#42