Foot and mouth restrictions are forcing Scotland’s pig farmers to quit

Foot and mouth disease movement restrictions could be the final straw for the Scottish pig industry with producers already facing annual feed costs of almost £1000 a sow, according to Quality Meat Scotland.

QMS reports this week that a major processing company has revealed eight Scottish pig producers, supplying around 11% of the Scottish pig herd, have indicated their intention to pull out of pig farming.

And Scottish consumers now have widespread concerns that Scotland may soon be unable to meet demand for home produced pork, according to an independent study commissioned by QMS.

The study reveals that 80% of Scots consider it is important that pork production continues in Scotland.

Only 18% felt confident that imported pork was produced to the same production and animal welfare standards as pork from Scotland and 74% believe Scottish pig farmers deserve fairer prices for their products.

QMS chairman Donald Biggar said with feed costs doubling in the last year many pig producers are now seriously considering whether they have any future left in the industry.

Mr Biggar said the economic situation was dire before the onset of foot and mouth disease but this latest outbreak and the reintroduction of movement restrictions means that pig producers have been left with even more expensive mouths to feed.

“We are now extremely concerned that for many this may be the final straw, they simply can’t afford to keep losing money, and Scotland’s rich heritage of producing excellent tasting pork may be in jeopardy,” said Mr Biggar.

“A recent summit meeting between industry figures and the multiple retailers at the Scottish parliament gave some cause for hope that agreement could be reached enabling pig producers to take a fairer margin for their products.

“Given the gravity of the current situation, we hope this breakthrough happens sooner rather than later,” he added.

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