Memorandum submitted by Rattlerow Farms
Ltd (M 10)
In view of the inquiry you are having on 11
December on the Pig Industry we have prepared this brief submission
which concentrates on the single issue of the UK only offering
partial compensation for pigs restricted in Swine Fever surveillance
Rattlerow Farms Ltd is an international pig
breeding company employing over 100 people in the UK. Approximately
25 per cent of our UK production have been affected by Swine Fever
and to date has cost us over £1 million.
We have a pig breeding company in Holland, RPD
Nederlands, which was caught up in the Swine Fever outbreak over
there. Exactly as in the UK we had farms located in surveillance
areas. For animal welfare reasons pigs were routinely slaughtered
and incinerated exactly as in the UK. However, all the pigs removed
were paid for at full market value and for breeding stock that
value was, in some cases, over £300 per pig. In the UK all
we have received to date for similar pigs is £50/pig.
The UK voted in favour of other member states
receiving full compensation for surveillance area pigs but has
failed to ensure this for UK farmers. Nick Brown has said he would
not see the UK pig farmers disadvantaged but this is what he has
done. He has ignored precedents set in other member states and
failed to ensure a level playing field.
Nick Brown also said Swine Fever was a "normal
business risk", however to quote the UK's submission to the
Commission concerning the fire at the Ballymoney processing plant
(23 February 1999 para 18) "The UK does not accept that the
sudden total inability of a producer to sell a product in his
usual market at any price, owing to circumstances unrelated to
the market situation and without any change in levels of consumer
demand, coupled with the almost total inability to transport this
product for sale at any price in other markets, due to restriction
on animal movement, can be considered to fall with the parameters
of entrepreneurial risk". Clearly from this the UK has been
inconsistent in its treatment of pig farmers.
The Animal Health Act 1982 clearly says compensation
should be paid at the full market value. (Schedule 3) also (Schedules
17 and 18) says that it doesn't matter if actual infection was
present. The legal basis for the minister not to pay full market
value therefore seems rather thin.
Other member states received up to 75 per cent
of the cost of compensation from the EU. Full compensation would
not have cost the UK anything if the balance were claimed from
This submission only covers the issue of compensation
however the consequential losses resulting from Swine Fever have
been enormous and will take several years of good trading to recover.
Unfortunately our confidence is severely undermined
in this government's determination to ensure a level playing field.
BSE tax and willingness to import pigmeat from illegal production
systems has made the UK non-competitive and only encourages international
companies like us to invest outside of the UK. It is very important
that British farmers are treated fairly otherwise the UK pig industry
will continue to decline.
1 December 2000