Select Committee on Agriculture Minutes of Evidence


Annex

SWINE FEVER

  Introduced to East Anglia via infected imported pig-meat—the Trojan Horse which helped to destroy the British pig industry.

  Suggestion. Compare the cost of the current operation in the surveillance zones to a policy of slaughtering on farm and burying overweight pigs as soon as the pigs became overweight.

  Cost factors to take into account.

  Feed consumed in feeding pigs which would never have a market.

  Cost of hauling pigs to abattoir, abattoir costs, cost of hauling carcases to incinerator and incineration costs.

  Cost of repairing facilities broken by overcrowding.

  Cost of financial borrowing imposed by surveillance zones.

  Cost of selling pigs below the cost of production.

  Cost of suffering of animals which were abused by overcrowding—or is that irrelevant?

  Cost of despair and distress caused to pig farmers, their families and employees—or is that irrelevant?

  Cost of helping to destroy British pig industry for future years. Please remember, once the industry has gone it will be a Herculean task to revive it.

  The way that the surveillance zones have been conducted is an excellent example of penny wise and pound foolish.

  PS: Why did the Minister of Agriculture ignore the letter from Dr Julia Wrathall of the RSPCA? She wrote to the Minister at the beginning of the Swine Fever outbreak and prophetically warned of the horrendous welfare problems in the surveillance zones. The Minister's absence from the Swine Fever zones has been noted, he is obviously unaware of the significance of the disease.

  Why is it that other European governments come to the rescue of their pig industries, ie Belgium Dioxin and Dutch Swine Fever, but Britain ignores the cost of BSE and Swine Fever on the British pig industry?


 
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Prepared 2 February 2001