Brown pig aid decision within days

23 August 2000

Brown pig aid decision ‘within days’

By FWi staff

FARM minister Nick Brown will decide within days how to help pig farmers facing financial ruin and a welfare crisis as a result of the swine fever outbreak.

On Tuesday (22 Aug) the EU decided to lift its ban on English exports of live pigs — except in the areas of East Anglia where the disease has been identified

A partial relaxation of livestock movement restrictions in surveillance zones around four infected nursery farms is expected on Wednesday (23 August).

However, 800 farmers still within restriction zones will continue losing money as they cannot sell stock and growing pig numbers pose the danger of a welfare crisis.

Speaking on the BBC Radio 4 Farming Today programme, Mr Brown admitted the government had to act promptly to tackle these problems.

The minister, who is to meet with industry leaders, said he hopes to have more to say within days.

Mr Brown insisted that the government cannot let an animal welfare problem emerge and said he will consider options with industry.

Clearly we need to do something urgently.

On the question of compensation for farmers with healthy herds in restriction zones, Mr Brown said he was studying precedents in other EU countries.

We will be wanting to help our industry in the same way as their governments have helped their industry in similar circumstances on similar timescales.

Intervention is a state aid to the industry whether theres money behind it or some other form of intervention, and has to be cleared with the commission

He suggested schemes could be made retrospective.

What seems to have happened with other member states is that theyve taken their schemes to the commission, got clearance for a scheme and made those schemes retrospective.

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