Agriculture Minister Nick Brown announces a revised welfare support package for pig farmers under movement restrictions during the current Classical Swine Fever outbreak.

The announcement follows further discussions with the National Farmers’ Union and the National Pig Association.

On 31 August exceptional payments for a welfare-related disposal scheme were announced in order to deal with the growing farm animal welfare problem for those under movement restrictions.

Two developments have led the Government to reconfigure the welfare scheme support payments in line with an industry proposal.

Firstly, 3 further confirmed outbreaks (bringing the total to 8) mean that some farmers will be subject to extended periods of movement restriction during which they are unable to move pigs from their farms.

Secondly, industry representatives have proposed setting up a levy of 20 pence on all pigs slaughtered in England to help meet the financial burdens imposed on producers affected by the movement restrictions.

Where animals up to 45 kgs live weight need to be culled to address over-crowding and other animal welfare problems resulting from the movement restrictions, a flat fee of £10 per pig will be paid. A flat rate of £30 per pig for each batch averaging between 45 kgs and 100kgs per pig will be paid. And on batches of animals averaging over 100kgs £65 will be paid. In this category the Government will pay £50 per pig, with an industry levy contributing the balance of £15. This is in addition to the costs of transport, slaughter and disposal of these animals, which is paid for by the Government. Payments will be retrospective to cover all animals taken under the scheme, including those already submitted.

Subject to Parliamentary approval and the results of an industry consultation, the 20p levy will be introduced under powers in the Agriculture Act 1967. It will be collected by the Meat and Livestock Commission, using procedures already in place. As a state aid, clearance from the European Commission is also required. Once the levy is in place, producers who receive the £50/pig payment will have that payment topped up by an additional £15/pig.

Commenting on these measures Nick Brown said:

“This scheme is designed to help farmers address the animal welfare problems associated with the extended period of movement restriction needed to combat the spread of Classical Swine Fever. It reflects the exceptionally difficult circumstances pig farmers are going through. The Government’s top priority remains the containment and eradication of this disease.

“The burden of the restrictions are carried by those farmers affected by them, but the restrictions are for the benefit of the industry as a whole. I am therefore pleased that the industry is supporting a financial contribution to the consequences of the movement restrictions. I am also pleased by the NFU commitment to review with MAFF and the Treasury the longer term implications for disease control in modern industry conditions.

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