Monday, 5 January, 1998

By Peter Crichton

FARMERS grappling with new legislation governing living requirements for pigs face a potential widening of the law later in the year.

Under an EU directive which came into force on New Years Day, each individual 30kg pig must be given access to at least 0.4m2 of living space.

But a Parliamentary bill proposed by Labour MP Chris Mullin threatens to double that space requirement to 0.8m2.

The second reading of Mr Mullins Welfare of Pigs Bill is due on 6 March. In addition to widening the space law, it proposes the banning of routine tail docking and weaning of pigs younger than six weeks.

Industry leaders have already warned that UK pig production will be made uneconomic if the Bill makes further progress.

Producers claim the proposals could severely compromise existing welfare standards adopted by the industry. The new space requirements will mean that pigs will be too cold in winter and could die, they say.

The NFU has prepared a brief for politicians. A spokesman said that pig producers concerned about the Bills implications should lobby their MPs.

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  • Peter Crichton is a Suffolk-based pig farmer offering independent valuation and consultancy services to the UK pig industry