24 August 2000
‘Pigs may be smuggled from zones’
By FWi staff
DESPERATE pig farmers could resort to smuggling animals out of swine fever restriction zones because of uncertainty surrounding compensation.
And while this illegal action could put the national herd at risk, East Anglian producer Neville Kemp warned money worries could forced farmers to do this.
Farm minister Nick Brown announced on Wednesday that farmers in restriction zones would receive an undisclosed amount of compensation for some animals.
But Mr Kemp said anxious producers who do not know how much compensation will be could move pigs out illegally for market prices.
Farmers cannot afford to sit around and wait for the ministrys valuation which may be a percentage of the value, Mr Kemp told the BBC Radio 4 Farming Today programme.
They could be tempted to move their stock out of surveillance areas, and have them come in from outside surveillance areas to processors
Mr Kemp said smuggling was not the answer, but farmers in restriction zones with healthy stock were becoming frustrated.
Following discussion with pig industry representatives Mr Brown revealed a two-part scheme to help producers inside swine fever restriction zones.
Under this overweight pigs will be removed from farms where there is welfare pressure to abattoirs for slaughter and disposal.
Abattoirs are paid by the ministry of agriculture, but producers receive nothing under this part of the scheme.
Under the second part, producers will receive an undisclosed flat rate compensation payment for pigs which have slaughtered under the first part.
The National Pig Association hopes the first part of the scheme will be operable by Wednesday (30 Aug).
It is calling for a figure on the flat rate amount and a timescale for when restrictions can be lifted.