News 508 views last update:Aug 12, 2007

FMD causes pig industry to plummet

The already frail pig industry faces 'severe losses' following the foot-and-mouth disease outbreak according to pig breeding company ACMC.

ACMC chairman, Stephen Curtis, has said that processors will have to dispose parts of the pig carcass, which are normally exported to the Far East, because they are of little value within the UK market. This will have to be done at cost.

The company also warned that overheads carried over to producers from processors could reach up to £8m (€11.8 million) a month, or £90m (€133 million) a year.

British pig meat processors will have to get rid of carcasses at a cost, as the export market is closed off. This will have a significant impact on the pig industry.

Curtis also noted that during the FMD outbreak processors simply passed on these overheads to producers by paying £10 (€15) to £15 (€22) per pig less. "If the same happens this time it would cost British pig farmers £7.5m (€11 million) to £8m (€11.8 million) a month or up to £90m in a year," he added.

ACMC at risk
ACMC is already experiencing the impact of the outbreak, with orders from Russia worth £1m (€1.4 million) at risk of not being fulfilled. Curtis said that the industry is already in a fragile state and has significantly decreased in size over the last ten years.

Due to this Curtis has asked the British government to declare a large section of Britain as an 'official zone of freedom' to allow business as usual in those specific areas.

"This would send a strong message out to governments internationally that the FMD outbreak was a freak as opposed to an epidemic," he said.

"This, in turn, would encourage them to allow imports of meat products and live animals from the "free zone", thus relieving the financial pressure on an already hard-pressed industry."

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