6 September 2002

Pig welfare cost rise

NEW EU pig welfare legislation will add an extra 9p/kg pig in production costs by forcing producers to provide all pigs with permanent access to straw.

Rules currently undergoing DEFRA consultation will make pig production virtually impossible on slatted floors, says Lincs pig producer John Godfrey.

"It states that all pigs must have permanent access to straw or a similar material, such as hay, wood, sawdust or peat."

But Mr Godfrey is unsure how this can be practically implemented on his 5000-sow unit without blocking slats and impairing slurry handling in finisher accommodation. "Its just another cost for the UK pig industry, reducing our competitiveness in Europe."

An impact assessment by DEFRA suggests a worst-case scenario cost of about £49,900 each year for a 400-sow unit to provide straw or other material. Thats an additional 9p/kg pig produced, says Mr Godfrey.

"We need clarification on whether the EUintended to include finishers and how EU countries with a greater reliance on slatted buildings are reacting."

The closing date for consultation responses, which should be sent to DEFRA, is Nov 6. &#42