An emergency session of the British Pig Executive was held yesterday in the light of the deepening foot and mouth disease crisis.

The members agreed the top priority of the British pig industry had to be the eradication of the disease.

They also stressed the urgent need to re-establish pig slaughtering for meat production in Great Britain as quickly as possible.

A number of ideas on a system of licensed movement of pigs direct to slaughter were discussed together with proposals on how that could be achieved without compromising the biosecurity of both farm and abattoirs.

These ideas have been passed on to pig industry representative bodies who will work with government and other parts of the livestock industry to achieve the speedy introduction of a licensed movement system.

BPEX Chairman Richard Campbell said: “BPEX is a unique body with representatives from throughout the pig industry, including pig farmers, abattoirs, processors and retailers.

“Every member is committed to finding a way of getting pigmeat production re-established as quickly and safely while maintaining the momentum to eradicate foot and mouth disease in all livestock.”