1 March 2002

Spanish swine fever prompts buy-up scheme

PIG market managers in Brussels have given the go-ahead for a major buy-up scheme in the Barcelona region of Spain to help bolster prices after five more cases of classical swine fever.

With protection zones and movement restrictions affecting over 1m animals, the Spanish authorities had sought permission to take 200,000 finished pigs and 170,000 piglets out of the supply chain.

Paying up to 81% of the market rate – quoted at about k1.3/kg (79p/kg) – the pigmeat will be destroyed.

The management committee also agreed a 10% cut in export refunds on pigmeat products from all member states, in response to strong import demand from Japan. This was despite the fact EU exports were 18% down in 2001 due to foot-and-mouth concerns.

Meanwhile, EU vets have banned the export of live pigs, semen, ova and embryos from Luxembourg until Mar 15 at the earliest. Transport of live pigs through the EUs smallest member state is also on hold.

The decision follows the appearance of three cases of CSF last week and the imposition of a complete pig standstill by the Luxembourg government. &#42