10 May 2001
Sow welfare slaughter scheme for NI

By Philip Clarke

CULL sows suffering from acute welfare problems in Northern Ireland can now be slaughtered under a new scheme introduced by agriculture minister, Brid Rodgers.

Pig farmers across the province have run into welfare difficulties due to the loss of export markets – mainly Germany – following the foot-and-mouth crisis.

“Normally we slaughter about 300-400 cull sows a week in Northern Ireland,” said Ulster Farmers Union pig spokeswoman, Lyn Martin. “But with no market to send them to, these sows have been backing up on farms.”

The new scheme will take just 1750 pigs, on a first-come, first-served basis. It will pay 30 an animal and will be open until next Thursday, (May 17).

“To be eligible, farmers must obtain certification from a private vet that a serious on-farm welfare problem exists,” said Mrs Rodgers.

“The vet will also have to certify that all susceptible animals on the holding have been inspected and show no sign of foot-and-mouth.”

Farmers will have to meet the cost of inspection and haulage to the single authorised abattoir at Crewe, Ballygawley.

The UFU said it was relieved a scheme was now up and running, though it was disappointed at the 30 a head payment.

“This is well below the normal market value of these animals,” said pig committee chairman, Charlie Pogue.

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