24 August 2000
Pig farmers warn of fever ‘body blow&’
by Alistair Driver
PIG farmers have warned that they face a body blow which will take them 10 years to recover from unless they are compensated for the swine fever outbreak.
The claim was made on the National Pig Associations website as producers pledged to continue to press the government for financial aid to ride out the crisis.
John Godfrey, NPA said farmers were suffering intolerable hardship through no fault of their own and must get support if they are to stay in business.
“Unless they receive realistic compensation for the slaughter of their healthy pigs, a large part of the East Anglian pig industry will suffer a body blow from which it may not recover for over a decade,” he said.
The article on the NPA website shows that farmers have started to question whether the government has the political will to compensate pig producers.
Mr Godfrey and NPA vice-chairman James Black were optimistic after meeting with agriculture minister Nick Brown on Wednesday (23 Aug).
They appeared to be under the impression that the minister was going to request a compensation package from Brussels and the UK Treasury.
But a Press statement released on behalf of Mr Brown after the meeting, said only that the question of compensation “needs to be considered”.
Mr Godfrey said he was relying on the minister to remove the threat of bankruptcy from hanging over the heads of pig producers.
“The sums involved are not huge, but they are critical to the pig industry.”
An early indication of the level of compensation is vital, said Mr Godfrey, if farmers are know what action they should take with their creditors.