On Friday last, the government announced a programme of assistance for pig farmers in the East Austrian region of Burgenland.
Measures promoting animal welfare and meat quality will be brought in. The requirement for participating in the programme is membership of the animal health service of the region Burgenland (Burgenländischer Tiergesundheitsdienst).
Farmers in the area have been suffering badly from low prices and high feed costs like their European counterparts. Around €100,000 has been put aside from the Austrian agricultural budget for the new programme.
The number of producers has decreased significantly from 12,000 operations in 1998 to around 1,200 currently with around 70,000 animals each. International competition has also left its mark on Austrian farmers.
The so-called European Union initiative ‘ELER Programme’ which promotes the keeping of animals in their natural environment should secure the practice of pig farming. Demand for natural pork is rising among consumers. Farmers producing natural meat receive around €280 for a pig of 100kg, whereas a pig raised on conventional methods earns €130.