By Peter Crichton

NEW movement plans announced by junior DEFRA minister Lord Whitty have serious implications for all sectors of the pig industry.

The country has now been divided into “high risk” counties like Cumbria, Northumberland and Powys; “at risk” counties where there have been foot-and-mouth problems, and “free” counties where no F&M outbreaks have occurred.

Movements in “free” counties will be limited to 250 miles, and at risk counties will be subject to a 150 mile limit.

Movements in high risk counties will be restricted to the county itself.

The minister also announced that all movements must be traceable, but final details are yet to be announced.

The start date of the new movement arrangements for pigs is September 17, and the livestock welfare disposal scheme for surplus cull sows will be extended.

James Black of the National Pig Association is engaged in urgent discussions with DEFRA about pig identification, multiple movements off farm and inter-pyramid pig movements.

If ear tagging becomes compulsory for all stock movements, those producers selling 7kg weaners will be faced with the problem of tagging young pigs on outdoor units.

Breeders claim that this will increase stress levels for pigs, and could trigger PDNS and PMWS in young pigs. Many tags may also be lost further down the production chain.

The NPA are believed to be pressing for a unique ID number which follows pigs via movement licences rather than individual tags.

This could be incorporated in slap numbers on pigs consigned for slaughter and allow them to be traced right back through the chain.

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

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