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DEFRA RURAL SERVICES HELPLINE
JUNE 2016
Call Defra Rural Services Helpline on 0300 020 0301 to report suspicion of disease in animals and for advice and guidance on animal health and welfare services. The helpline is open Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5pm. There is an out of hours facility on the same number for reporting suspicion of disease in animals.


ANIMAL HEALTH LAW
APRIL 2016
Regulation 2016/429 on Transmissible Animal Diseases ("Animal Health Law").


TRANSPORTING PIGS
FEBRUARY 2016
Practical Guidelines to Assess Fitness for Transport of Pigs


LA-MRSA
NOVEMBER 2015
Information for people who work with livestock


Antibiotics guide
NOVEMBER 2015
Best practice guide to antibiotic use review on pig farms.


Chris Brant
Award 2015

Chris Brant Award 2015 — includes audio of the citation by Richard Longthorp.


National Pig
Awards 2015

National Pig Awards 2015.


David Black
Award 2015

David Black Award 2015.


National Pig
Awards 2014

David Black Award 2014 — includes audio of the Sue Woodall's acceptance speech.
Chris Brant Award 2014
— includes audio of the citation by Richard Longthorp.
National Pig Awards 2014 — includes audio of state-of-the-industry address by Mick Sloyan.


AHDB Order 2008
This is the Statutory Instrument that set up AHDB. It includes provisions for discontinuing the levy.


Wild boar sightings
AUGUST 2015
As an industry we have an imperfect understanding of the distribution of breeding populations of feral pigs in Britain. Please report any sightings here.


Welfare position paper
MAY 2015
Germany, Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark position paper calling for the Pig Welfare Directive to be substantially upgraded, including an outright ban on stalls and an eventual ban on farrowing crates.


Processor assurance rules
MAY 2015
Summary of revised BMPA Pig Welfare and Slaughter Module — includes new mandatory lorry washing rule.


Exotic disease planning
MARCH 2015
The United Kingdom Contingency Plan for Exotic Notifiable Diseases of Animals outlines the way the four administrations of the United Kingdom work together to provide a response to exotic notifiable animal diseases.


Countryside Code
AUGUST 2014
The latest version of the Countryside Code has been published today by Natural England and is available for download here


Water supply systems on agricultural premises
AUGUST 2014
Agricultural premises — information for anyone installing, modifying or maintaining plumbing
installations.


African swine fever in wild boar
JULY 2014
Comprehensive factsheet by University of Utrecht. Details.


Wild boar banned
APRIL 2014
Wild boar are feral pigs, or feral hogs. When referring to the feral population in Britain, the industry should drop the expression "wild boar" because it's inaccurate, and it's misleading to the public.


General guidance for feed deliveries
Good biosecurity has a high priority on most pig farms. It is essential when making deliveries. These NPA Guidelines summarise best practice when delivering feed, or other goods and services.


Live imports and disease risks
The British Pig Association, which represents pedigree pig breeders, and NPA have issued advice to all pig-keepers about disease risks when importing live pigs: BPA/NPA advice


Advice on earth-banked lagoons
The Environment Agency has published a summary of necessary soil characteristics and tests which must be carried out before constructing an unlined earth-banked lagoon: Environment Agency advice


Odour guides
• Pig Industry Good Practice Checklist


Ladies in Pigs
Ladies in Pigs website

 

INDUSTRY NEWS

Farmers urged to
sign up to disease
charter following
recent Swine
Dysentery cases

By Alistair Driver
Sunday August 28, 2016

AHDB Pork and the National Pig Association have issued a timely reminder about the importance of signing up to the Significant Disease Charter, after the recent re-emergence Swine Dysentery in Yorkshire.

Two new cases of Swine Dysentery have been detected on Yorkshire farms in August.

Outbreaks were identified on a rearing unit in North Yorkshire on August 5 and on a finishing unit near Driffield on August 22.

The cases were identified by clinical signs and subsequently confirmed by laboratory tests.

The previous two cases identified in the UK were also found in Yorkshire, in April 2016 and November 2015. 

No further details are being given of the most recently affected farms, except to members of the Significant Disease Charter, which enables farmers to share information on serious pig diseases.

The charter is run by AHDB Pork on behalf of the Pig Health and Welfare Council and is an extension of the swine dysentery charter.

AHDB Pork veterinary manager Martin Smith said: "The aim of the charter is to share information quickly making the control and elimination of the disease easier and faster.

"Those who used to belong to the old Swine Dysentery Charter still need to sign up to the new one as their details have not been carried across.

"I would urge all producers to become members as it benefits the whole industry, not only with outbreaks of Swine Dysentery but also any other exotic or emerging diseases."

NPA senior policy adviser Dr Georgina Crayford said: "These cases are cropping up more frequently so I can't overstress how important it is for producers to sign up to the Charter which can bring benefit to the whole industry."

For more information about Swine Dysentery, follow this link http://pork.ahdb.org.uk/health-welfare/health/swine-dysentery

and this one to sign up to the charter, http://www.pighub.org.uk/iip/home.eb


RUMA has it –
alliance confirms
leadership role
in setting
'meaningful'
AMR targets

By Alistair Driver
Friday August 26, 2016

The Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture (RUMA) alliance is taking on a leadership role in the drive to bring to about improvements in the way antibiotics are used in farming.

And the early signs are good.

RUMA - now comprising 25 organisations spanning the farming, veterinary, animal medicine and supply chain sectors - is setting up a task force that will use industry expertise to deliver the change.

This, of course, a response to the Government-commissioned O'Neill Review's calls for action to address Antimicrobial Resistance in its final report in May.

Based on the report's recommendations, Defra Chief Veterinary Officer Nigel Gibbens has indicated he wants the UK livestock sector as a whole to cut antibiotic usage to 50mg/kg of livestock by 2018.

Current sales of antibiotics equate to 62mg/kg, although this is not necessarily the same as usage.

At a meeting on Tuesday, RUMA's lead role in the 'significant task' of setting sector-specific targets for reducing antibiotic use was confirmed.

This will be done through newly established working groups within RUMA, the Scientific Group and Targets Task Force. RUMA will be reporting to the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) along the way.

It is hoped that the process of defining goals for each sector will take around six months.

But RUMA secretary general John FitzGerald said the priority was to ensure the setting of goals was done rigorously and that the outcomes were meaningful.

In other words, he does not want to be limited to blunt volume-driven targets.

He said: "It's safe to say the industry recognises resistance is a global issue affecting us all, and it needs to play its part in preserving the efficacy of antimicrobials."

Mr FitzGerald acknowledged Defra's 50mg/kg target but added: "At a sector level, we want to move away from hard mg/kg or mg/PCU targets as we believe these have the potential to encourage the wrong behaviours.

"For example, we need to reduce use of third and fourth generation antibiotics which are critically important for human medicine. However, these are used in tiny quantities compared with 'old' chemistry, so target weights just encourage use of the very products we need to reduce.

"So instead the task force will help each sector develop some really smart objectives that will reduce disease burden, improve immunity and use products more effectively – all while maintaining the best standards of animal welfare.

"To us, the 50mg/kg target and other such finite figures should be indicators of success, not the end destination."

A preliminary workshop is due in September with the task-force proper to be announced shortly and convening over October and November.

Mr FitzGerald said was also important to focus on what would work in the UK. The 50mg/kg target is based on what Denmark has achieved,

He said: "It should be remembered that the Danish government invested heavily to allow its pig farmers to build new high-health premises; and in reducing its antibiotic usage by nearly 60%, the Netherlands is now at approximately the same level of use as the UK."

National Pig Association senior adviser Georgina Crayford said the association was pleased RUMA was taking a more proactive approach and that the approach would continue to be rooted in science.


Next stage of CCIR
abattoir data project
to start in September

By Alistair Driver
Tuesday August 22, 2016

Trials of the next stage of an initiative aimed at improving the flow of pig health information collected at abattoirs back to farms will commence at the end of September.

Trials of the Collection and Communication of Inspection Results (CCIR) post-mortem condition cards and training of meat inspectors will take place at five processing plants, including the Karro Food Group's Malton plant, which is already involved in the wider trial of CCIR.

CCIR refers to the information collected during ante and post mortem inspection by officials and sent back to farmers to improve animal health and welfare and ultimately food safety

The exercise will aim to help standardise and streamline the quality of data provided, according to AHDB Pork.

In the testing phase, Karro will be using additional screens on the line to record the new condensed list of offal and carcase conditions.

The project is being driven by AHDB Pork and the Food Standards Agency (FSA), with support from the British Meat Processors Association, but is being treated with a healthy degree of scepticism by the National Pig Association.

This is because the AHDB Pork Board's current intention is for CCIR to become strong enough to enable the industry's popular British Pig Health Scheme (BPHS) be wound up from March next year.

At its most recent meeting, members of the NPA producer group were adamant the BPHS was more useful to producers and vets than CCIR.

NPA chairman Richard Lister, criticised the timing of the change. At a time when the industry was going to have to cut back on antibiotic use, it would be 'invaluable to have BPHS data to help with our decision- making', he said.

AHDB Pork director Mick Sloyan told the meeting if the industry was adamant BPHS should remain it would be considered for their next Business Plan. However, producers would need to accept that other initiatives would have to be dropped as resources are limited.

NPA chief executive Zoe Davies said the association was becoming increasingly concerned about the FSA's plan to release lots of additional data onto the internet, with 'seemingly no real thought as to how the data might be used and by whom'.

"Aside from the fact that the quality of CCIR data is debatable, it hadn't even thought about the possibility of a country we export to seeing information out of context and deciding to shut borders as a result," she added.

AHDB Pork food safety project manager Emma Bailey-Beech said Karro saw 'great potential in supplying pig producers with accurate real-time information concerning the health and welfare of pigs delivered to site'.

Following the trials, all the FSA inspectors will be trained with the finalised conditions cards.

"The effectiveness of both the condition cards and training package will be validated with an online verification assessment in late September. Once complete, this training will be rolled out regionally.


Another case of
Swine Dysentery
detected in Yorkshire

By Alistair Diver
Tuesday August 23, 2016

Farmers have been warned to be vigilant and maintain high biosecurity standards after another case of Swine Dysentery was detected on a farm in Yorkshire.

The case was identified by clinical signs and subsequently confirmed by laboratory tests on Monday, August 22.

No details are being given of the location of the affected farm, except to members of the Significant Disease Charter. Any producers who have not already signed the Charter, can do so here >>

It is the second case to be reported in Yorkshire in a few weeks. The disease was identified on a rearing unit in North Yorkshire on August 5.

The previous two cases identified in the UK were also in Yorkshire, in April 2016 and November 2015.

AHDB Pork is advising producers to increase vigilance for the development of clinical signs of disease within their herd.

"It is important that a heightened level of biosecurity and monitoring for clinical signs are observed over the next few weeks," a spokesperson added.

BIOSECURITY GUIDANCE

  • Swine dysentery is a bacterial disease of pigs caused by Brachyspira hyodysenteriae. It results in diarrhoea and weight loss which severely limits productivity.
  • Pigs which survive infection require treatment, take longer to reach slaughter weight and the farm's productivity and competitiveness is compromised.
  • Infected pigs, their dung and anything contaminated with dung (vehicles, boots, slurry, equipment) can easily spread infection between farms.
  • The disease is a particular threat to farms selling pigs for breeding; if these become infected their international and UK trade is devastated.
  • Resistance to the limited range of treatments for swine dysentery is increasing. There have been cases where the swine dysentery organism is resistant to all available treatments and complete depopulation has been the only way to control disease on these farms and prevent spread.
  • An infected pig farm threatens others within an area due to potential local spread and also threatens farms in other regions due to spread on vehicles or by pig movements.

DIAGNOSIS

  • If you see unexplained diarrhoea and wasting, especially if the diarrhoea contains blood or mucus, contact your vet immediately who will advise you.
  • Diagnosis is achieved by submitting faeces or pigs for testing. Prompt diagnosis is important so that suitable control measures are quickly implemented which helps limit spread of the infection.
  • Swine dysentery tends to cause most obvious disease in growers, finishers and younger breeding stock, with low to moderate mortality.
  • Further guidance on sampling for diagnosis is available here >>

WTO sends
'strong signals' to
Russia on EU
exports – but
will Kremlin
take any notice?

By Alistair Driver
Monday Augsut 22, 2016

Russia and its combative president Vladamir Putin are not known for taking notice of 'strong signals' from global bodies informing them they are in breach of some international rule or other.

Nonetheless, the European Commission has taken heart from a ruling by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on Russia's 'illegal' import ban on live pigs, fresh pork and other pig products from the EU.

The ban was imposed in early 2014 because of a limited number of cases of African Swine Fever (ASF) in areas in the EU close to the border with Belarus.

The WTO has ruled, after lengthy consideration, that Russia's refusal to accept imports of certain EU products and to adapt EU-Russia import certificates amounted to an EU-wide import ban.

Yet the measure was not based on the relevant international standards and violates the rules of the WTO Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (the SPS Agreement), the WTO concluded.

What the ruling will ultimately means in terms of the resumption of EU-Russian pork trade remains unclear, however.

The first point to make is the ruling does not affect the 'other' Russian ban, imposed a few months later in 2014 in response to a political dispute with the EU over Ukraine and covering virtually the entire range of EU agri-food products.

So, if Russia relented and lifted the ASF-related ban, this would allow exports of fat, lard and offal to resume. But other higher value, core pork products covered by the political ban would remain off limits.

This has quite rightly not stopped the Commission from basking in the glow of a victory against Mr Putin, however insignificant it might prove to be.

Brussels has faced significant pressure – and has the scars to prove it from some fractious EU farmer protests - to help EU producers across the sectors who have suffered from the market downturn resulting from the Russian bans.

The Commission acknowledges the limited material effect lifting the ban would have this would have.

But it describes the WTO's findings as being of 'systemic importance, reminding Russia about its international obligations and the fact that these cannot be arbitrarily ignored'.

Specifically, it stresses, a 'strong signal' has been sent to Russia, and all WTO Members, as regards their obligation to respect international standards.

In this case, this is in respect partly to the principle of regionalisation, which should allow trade from individual areas of a country recognised as pest or disease-free, even if the health status in the rest of the country is unfavourable.

The other key principle ruled upon is that any import bans imposed in the name of sanitary concerns must be done so on the basis of a risk assessment underpinned by scientific evidence and in line with WTO rules.

"EU products are safe and there is thus no need for any country to maintain unjustified import restrictions," the Commission said.

The panel report can be appealed within 60 days. If no appeal is filed within that deadline, the report will be adopted and Russia will be bound to comply with the recommendation.

A line in the sand has been drawn. Whether Russia, which is itself battling to contain ASF in wild boar and domestic pigs, will now refrain from stepping over it remains to be seen.


Temporary land
for livestock

Monday August 22, 2016

If you intend to use land in England temporarily to keep livestock, you will need to apply for a Temporary Land Association or a Temporary County Parish Holding number using this form as part of the the changes coming into effect this year and next, to simplify the reporting and recording of animal movements.


Pig slaughterings
up in July but
too early to
draw conclusions

By Alistair Driver
Monday August 22, 2016

UK pig clean pig slaughterings rose by 6 per cent year-on-year in July to 891,200 head, the latest figures from Defra show, once adjustments for a change in methodology are factored in.

However, the overall picture is unclear as the July increase followed two months when slaughterings were lower than the equivalent period in 2015.

This amount of volatility is unusual, according to AHDB Pork, which is urging caution when it comes to interpreting the figures.

For a little more context, overall throughputs during May, June and July were only marginally up on the same period in 2015, a more reliable indication of trends, the levy board suggests.

After all, the relatively tight supply situation this suggests matches recent industry reports and is consistent with the rising trend of pig prices throughout this period.

The Defra figures showed sow slaughterings, at 18,600 in July, were 4 per cent down on a year earlier, representing the first year-on-year fall since last May.

A sign perhaps, AHDB Pork suggests, that rising pig prices have created a more optimistic climate for producers.

Clean pig carcase weights remained 700g above last year's levels, averaging 80.6kg. Added to the rise in slaughterings, pig meat production was reported to be up 7 per cent, at 74,600 tonnes.

As with the slaughtering figures, however, this should be treated with some caution - the rise over the last three months was a much more modest 1 per cent.


Pigs will become
more like the wine
business, predicts
food pundit

By Digby Scott
Sunday August 21, 2016

Anna

"And so another part of Britain's pig-rearing tradition goes," reports broadcaster and food critic Jay Rayner in a five-page spread in today's Observer Food Monthly magazine.

He's referring to a decision by Yorkshire producer Tim Chapman to quit pigs after 36 year, "because in this industry all the risk goes on the farmer".

Having interviewed producers Anna Longthorp and David Owers, along with marketeer and auctioneer Peter Crichton, and Mick Sloyan of AHDB Pork, Rayner predicts increased polarisation ahead.

"In the long term, the pig industry will probably become more like the wine business. At one end will be high-welfare, low-intensity premium product, flogged to those whose interest in the way the animals they eat are cared for is matched only by the depths of their pockets.

"The rest of the industry will be buffeted by the cold winds of the international markets," he says.

"Mainstream consumers may claim an interest in welfare. They may say they want the best. But all too often it comes down to simple pounds and pence. At which point it's the pigs that suffer."


Farmers urged
to look out for
stolen pigs

By Alistair Driver
Saturday August 20, 2016

Farmers are being asked to keep an eye out for a batch of live pigs stolen from a farm in the New Forest, in Hampshire.

Fourteen young Landrace Duroc cross pigs were taken from South Allenford Farm near Fordingbridge on Monday evening or early Tuesday morning, the local press is reporting.

The pigs weigh between 25 and 30 kgs and are tattooed with 'HB0789'.

PC Rob Morant from the New Forest West Neighbourhood Policing team said: "These pigs are likely to be kept and fed up for a number of months as they are not currently at the required size to be sent to an abattoir.

"I would like to hear from anyone who knows the whereabouts of the livestock, or who witnessed pigs being transported in the area."


Alarm bells ring
as Forest of Dean
feral wild boar
population
continues to grow

By Alistair Driver
Friday August 19, 2016

Wild boar

There's further evidence the number of feral wild boar in England is on the rise, with all the risk that brings for our domestic pig population.

The results of the latest survey show there now an estimated 1,562 wild boar roaming Gloucestershire and Herefordshire's Forest of Dean, equating to about 21 per sq.km.

This represents more than a 50 per cent increase on the 2015 estimate of 1,018.

In the central part of the forest, an area of nearly 43sq.km, estimates of boar numbers increased by 48 per cent, from 17.4/sq.km in 2015 to 25.8/sq.km this year.

The authors of a Forestry Commission report on the survey describe the increase as 'disappointing'. It occurred despite an organized cull of 422 wild boar in the forest, slightly below the target of 460 estimated to be sufficient to contain population increase.

Modelling suggests a further cull of 712 animals is now required to stabilise the population.

As the NPA has been saying for some time, the failure to control feral wild boar, which are also present on the public forest estate in Kent and Sussex, is storing up potential problems for our industry.

A WARNING FROM EASTERN EUROPE

We only have to look to Eastern Europe to see why. African Swine Fever is currently spreading rapidly through populations of wild boar in a number of Eastern European countries.

Worryingly, it is now increasingly being discovered on both 'backyard' and commercial pig farms in the likes of Russia and the Ukraine, where it is seen as a threat to productivity in the sector.

Russian president Vladamir Putin has been asked by the meat sector to apply the 'strictest measures', including extensive culling, to control the spread of disease from wild boar to commercial farms.

ASF is also present in four EU countries, with Poland, for example, recently reporting a case on a commercial pig farm.

Defra remains largely unconcerned about the situation, maintaining that the risk of ASF introduction to the UK remains very low, that is 'rare but could occur' and stating that the feral wild boar population in the UK is an industry problem.

NPA VIEW

But NPA's Zoe Davies believes the rise in feral wild boar should be viewed as a genuine threat and wants to see more action from Defra.

She said: "The ever-expanding feral wild boar population in the Forest of Dean poses a significant threat to the health of commercial pigs.

"Wild boar can and do gain access to pig farms, where they steal food and mate with sows, therefore the potential for disease spread is considerable.

"In the event of a notifiable disease outbreak, this risks the UK pig industry losing its export market – something that would be impossible to regain with such high numbers.

"We want to see a more coordinated and effective approach to management of wild boar populations – the latest census figures only highlight the urgency of that.

"NPA believes it is vital that Defra pressures the Forestry Commission to allocate the appropriate resources, including financial support, to the proper management of these animals."

NPA is also calling for Defra to review the Dangerous Wild Animals Act to include wild boar crosses and to come up with properly defined criteria for a licence for farmed wild boar, such as fencing requirements.

• Members are urged to help the Deer Initiative track new sightings of wild boar by entering any information here: http://www.wild-boar.org.uk/report_a_sighting/


Laser beams will
snare intruders

By Digby Scott
Thursday August 18, 2016

"I feel much safer in bed now," said a Yorkshire pig producer today.

Having been visited by trespassing animal rights activists recently, he has had laser technology fitted all round the farm, at a cost of just over £3k.

In future, if any of the beams are broken he and others in the business will get a text and they will be on the scene in minutes.


Today is #farm24 day
- why not get involved?

By Alistair Driver
Thursday August 18, 2016

Today is #farm24 day, an excellent initiative by Farmers Guardian/FG Insight encouraging farmers to showcase the great work they do and the reality of their working day to the wider world.

You can see what the 24 Hours in Farming initiative is all about here https://www.fginsight.com/farm-24/farm-24/farm-24-whats-it-all-about-4062-4062

The simplest way to take part is to post a picture, or if you are feeling ambitious a video, of your day on Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest using the hashtag: #farm24

It was launched last year, generating huge interest, and this year the #farm24 hashtag was 'trending' on Twitter within hours of the 5am launch, confirming it as one of the most popular topics in the country.

At a time when some will seek to pain the industry in a negative, this is a good opportunity to show, albeit in social media form, the real human face of farming and highlight some of its day-to-day joys and challenges.

Among those taking the initiative to heart are the staff of AHDB, who are promising to give farmers a chance to 'see behind the scenes' as individual staff from across teams at AHDB will be tweeting about their working day.

Why not get involved yourself?


Animal rights
activists attempt
to free sow

By Alistair Driver
Wednesday August 17, 2016

We have picked up word of another new tactic being deployed by animal rights activists determined to cast a shadow over the industry.

This one involves trying to free a sow from an abattoir. Although they ultimately failed, this latest incident, one of a number of examples of the industry being targeted in the past few days alone, has highlighted yet another angle being explored by activists in this ongoing battle.

Further details and advice on how to cope with activist incursions can be found in the members' area >>


BVA to seek
assurances from
Defra over
future of EU vets

By Alistair Driver
Tuesday August 16,2016

British Veterinary Association (BVA) president Sean Wensley is due to meet Defra Secretary Andrea Leadsom to discuss the future of EU vets in the UK.

Almost half of veterinary surgeons registering in the UK qualified from veterinary schools elsewhere in the EU.

Following the Brexit vote, the BVA expressed concern about whether these vets would still be allowed to operate in the UK once the process of leaving the EU is complete.

The UK Government has so far failed to give any definitive commitment on the post-Brexit rights of EU citizens in the UK.

However, Mrs Leadsom has now offered to meet the BVA's president to discuss this and other priority issues for the veterinary profession.

The rights of non-British EU citizens is not a devolved matter.

But according to Pig World, the BVA has been told by the devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland that their priority is to ensure the best outcome for their current constituents while acknowledging the importance of animal health and welfare.

But the veterinary progression wants much more in the way of a commitment from Mrs Leadsom and the UK Government to allay fears over this issue.


Agriculture must be
at centre of Brexit trade
negotiations - Raymond

By Alistair Driver
Monday August 15, 2016

Meurig Raymond has stressed the need for agriculture to be viewed as a key component of future trade negotiations, as the NFU formally launches its post-Brexit consultation.

The NFU options paper becomes available for members today, marking the start of the official consultation period, including around 50 meetings across the country, on what a future domestic agricultural policy should look like.

While there was good news from the Treasury on Saturday over the continuation of farm support until 2020, there are already concerns farming was being ignored in the key negotiations on future trade arrangements.

Launching the consultation Mr Raymond, the NFU's president, said the leave vote means food security must drive a new, bold ambition for UK farmers and growers.

"Our vision is for a future policy which enables farming's contribution to Britain grow. Where our farmers are able to compete with the rest of the world and are able to access the latest technologies to allow us to be ever more resilient, competitive and profitable.

"Where public goods farmers provide include not just the environment but also renewable energy, education, health and nutrition, to name but a few.

He added: "Brexit is about building bridges, building the industry's influence. The NFU's aim, once our members have spoken, is to provide a strong and united voice for the food and farming industry, to ensure that agriculture is seen as strategically and politically important in all future trade negotiations."

The NPA has been active in formulating its post-Brexit strategy, identifying a number of key priorities including trade arrangements that ensure export markets remain open and protect producers and consumers against cheap, lower standard imports.

Other NPA priorities include a much-improved and more proportionate regulatory environment, continued access to EU labour and a farm support system that support the pig sector, via, for examples, grants for new buildings and facilities.

The NPA recently took part in an industry meeting, alongside nine other organisations representing various aspects of UK agriculture, to discuss reaching a joint position on a post-Brexit agricultural policy.

NPA's Lizzie Wilson said it was important for the industry to work together to formulate coherent policies to present to Government on a matter of such huge significance.

The participating organisations were: Farmers' Union of Wales, Tenant Farmers Association, Institute of Auctioneers and Appraisers in Scotland, National Beef Association, National Sheep Association, National Pig Association, NFU Scotland, Central Association of Agricultural Valuers, Livestock Auctioneers Association and Scottish Beef Association.


Treasury guarantees
farm support as
pig sector eyes
longer-term
opportunities

By Alistair Driver
Saturday August 13, 2016

Somewhat belatedly, the Treasury has confirmed agricultural spending will be guaranteed through to 2020, even if the UK leaves the EU before then.

To those affected, this comes as a relief rather than a surprise. Matching payments to the end of the current CAP regime in 2020 was a pre-Referendum commitment from the Brexit camp.

Although all such 'commitments' require ratification from those who can actually do something about it, anything else would have been viewed by the farming industry as a dereliction of duty.

The NFU said the announcement gives farmers some much-needed certainty, meaning not only should the Basic Payment Scheme continue through to 2020 but that agri-environment schemes already in place are guaranteed through to their conclusion.

The NFU said it was working with Defra to understand the position of those farmers applying for Countryside Stewardship this September.

Other rural development grants such as Leader offered before the Autumn Statement will also be honoured, according to NFU.

NFU President Meurig Raymond, who has been seeking clarity on the issue in discussions with Defra Secretary Andrea Leadsom and Defra and Treasury over the past few weeks, said this short-term certainty now allows time to formulate a domestic agricultural policy that is fit for purpose.

And those longer-term discussions about what replaces the CAP after 2020 should be of real interest to all pig farmers, even if they have never previously been big beneficiaries of EU support.

The new policy is effectively being developed with a blank sheet of paper - and there are a number of policy ideas that will be of interest, from insurance schemes through to grants for new buildings and facilities.

At a time when many within the industry desperately need to invest to improve facilities to address problems like AMR but are not in a position to so, a grant scheme might just offer the sort of value-for-money the CAP never has.


Briefing on
swine dysentery
in Yorkshire

Friday August 12, 2016

Swine dysentery was confirmed on a pig rearing unit in Yorkshire this week. Producers in the region should be extra vigilant for the development of clinical signs of the disease in their own herds.

Please download the following guidance >>

For further information about the location of the unit, pig-keepers need to join the AHDB Pork Significant Diseases Charter, via the Pig Hub.


Nothing we aren't
doing already,
says NPA as
McDonald's
pressured to
act on AMR

By Alistair McDriver
Friday August 12, 2016

'McDonald's pressured to serve up global antibiotics ban', the BBC website informed its millions of readers this morning.

The article reveals the charity ShareAction has urged consumers to email McDonald's chief executive Steve Easterbrook, calling on the company to stop using chicken, beef, pork and dairy products from animals that have been given antibiotics in all its 30,000 stores globally.

Last week, the world's biggest fast food chain stopped using poultry treated with antibiotics - but only in its US restaurants.

ShareAction seeks to utilise the power of big money investment to create an investment system that is 'a force for good serving savers and communities, and protecting our environment for the long term'.

McDonald's was one of a number of big food chain companies targeted earlier this year in the form of demands from investors to act on antibiotics.

In its plea to the public to target McDonald's, Share Action claims the company is 'pumping antibiotics into the meats used to make its famous burgers'.

It notes that the World Health Organisation has warned that this practice could push us into a 'post antibiotic era,' in which the drugs we rely on for routine medical treatments no longer work.

But describing McDonald's as 'uniquely placed to seize this urgently needed opportunity for change in the restaurant sector', the commitments demanded in the template email fall short of the sort of ban the headlines suggest.

They letter calls on McDonald's to:

  • Prohibit the use of antibiotics important to human medicine in the meat and dairy supply chain globally (including for chicken, beef and pork), for purposes other than disease treatment or non-routine control of veterinarian-diagnosed illness.
  • Identify timelines for global implementation of this commitment, including for meals currently not sourced from dedicated suppliers.

Georgina Crayford, who leads for the NPA on antibiotics and AMR said: "While these sorts of headlines are never welcome, the reality is these discussions are already taking place right across the industry.

"This is an issue the industry takes incredibly seriously and, while these campaigns clearly serve those behind them, they simply are not needed when it comes to prompting action.

"What everybody needs to remember is the need to find balance between addressing the problem of AMR and ensuring the industry retains the ability to responsibly treat livestock to protect their health and welfare.

"Our message to pig farmers is to please make sure you sign up to the e-Medicine Book recording of antibiotic use. Only by doing this will we be able to demonstrate responsible use and ensure the response is appropriate."

NPA's antibiotic stewardship programme >>


EFSA proposes
big reduction in
copper allowed
in piglet feed

By Alistair Driver
THursday August 11, 2016

The European Fod Safety Authority (EFSA) has proposed a significant reduction in the maximum level of copper permitted for piglets, partly in an attempt to tackle antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

EFSA experts who have been looking into the issue have recommended that copper content in complete feed for piglets should not exceed 25 mg per kg, down from 170 mg/kg.

The Panel on Additives and Products or Substances used in Animal Feed (FEEDAP) also recommended the maximum content of copper in complete feed for dairy cows and cattle should be reduced from 35 mg/kg of feed to 30 mg/kg.

For most other animal groups the currently authorised upper levels are unchanged except for goats where the panel actually recommends an increase.

The recommended levels are considered sufficient to satisfy the nutritional needs for copper of these animal groups, the food safety watchdog said.

EFSA said the proposed levels would reduce the amount of copper released into the environment, which could potentially play a role in reducing AMR.

The Panel estimated the reduction of copper in feed for piglets would reduce the release of copper into the environment through manure by 20 per cent.

Some studies indicate – as one of several hypotheses – that the occurrence of AMR could potentially be linked to the genetic proximity of some antibiotic and copper resistance genes.

Reducing copper in feed could therefore help to reduce AMR resistance in pigs and in the environment.

The FEEDAP Panel's work is based on an extensive systematic literature review and data collected from member states and stakeholders.


Scotland makes
on-line antibiotic
recording
compulsory

By Digby Scott
Wednesday August 10, 2016


The Scottish pig sector has made online recording of antibiotics compulsory for members of the Quality Meat Scotland assurance scheme. The move follows a trial on five Scottish commercial pig farms.

From July 2016, all QMS-assured pig farms are required to upload their antibiotic-use data to the industry's Electronic Medicine Book quarterly, starting with July to September 2016.

But ideally producers should upload their data from January 2016 onwards as this will put the Scottish pig industry in a stronger position relative to the rest of the United Kingdom, says Quality Meat Scotland.

In England, NPA Producer Group will decide at its September meeting whether to request Red Tractor to make Electronic Medicine Book recording compulsory for antibiotics, possibly with a phase-in period.

Quality Meat Scotland says the online Electronic Medicine Book provides an easy way to record all antibiotic-use, by country.

"The quarterly submission of data will provide the most accurate medicine-use trend analysis for producers," says Quality Meat Scotland pig specialist Allan Ward.

"Following submission to the online portal, recorded data is anonymised and a trend report is sent back to the producer," he explains.

"This report will provide valuable benchmarks which will enable producers to assess their usage against pig industry standards and may highlight potential to better target antibiotic use, therefore reducing production costs."

He points out data submitted via the Electronic Medicine Book will help the United Kingdom record antimicrobial-use on farms, which in turn will present a far more accurate picture to the European Union, which is scrutinising use of antibiotics at all levels.

"The Electronic Medicine Book will also automatically fulfil the requirements of QMS and Red Tractor assurance schemes, mitigating the need for producers to tally up their total usage annually," points out Allan Ward.

Explaining the need for good data, he says, "Currently the pig industry has a limited understanding of its total antibiotic usage. Approximately 75 percent of total antibiotics sold in the United Kingdom for animal use are authorised for use in pig and/or poultry production. Unfortunately we don't know how much of the 75 percent is used in pig production specifically."

• A recent NPA website poll covering 46 percent of the England finishing herd showed nearly three-quarters of pig-keepers agree with compulsory e-Medicine Book recording of antibiotic-use. However, there were signs of a large-scale versus smaller-scale divide in the results, probably because the latter have fewer admin resources. Also, there was an element of self-selection in the poll, because pig-keepers who don't use com- puters or who don't engage via the NPA website, are unlikely to have taken part.


China crisis? I
don't think so,
says AHDB's
Mick Sloyan

By Alistair Driver
Wednesday August 10, 2016

China is not happy about Hinkley Point.

So unhappy, its ambassador to the UK Liu Xiaoming has warned the delay to approving EDF's proposed nuclear plant, which China is hoping to invest heavily in, had brought the two countries to a 'crucial historical juncture'.

The sub-text, of course, is that the 'golden era' of collaboration between the two countries, as presented during leader Xi Jinping's state visit last year, is now in jeopardy.

While many in Government, particularly within Defra, had openly embraced the prospect of this 'golden era' and its implications for UK exports, it appears, according to the BBC, new Prime Minister Theresa May never wholly approved of her predecessor's 'gung ho' approach to the issue.

And her chief of staff and key adviser, Nick Timothy, has suggested MI5 believed that Chinese intelligence services "continue to work against UK interests at home and abroad'.

All of which is prompting China to question the extent of to which the much-vaunted 'mutual trust' exist =s between the two nations.

This in turn is leading some UK exporters to re-appraise the long-term export potential into what remains one of the world's most important markets.

UK pigmeat exports to China are growing fast and were worth about £50 million last year. The added significance of the Chinese market is that also represents a home and added value for the so-called 'fifth quarter' products that are with little in the EU market.

AHDB Pork director Mick Sloyan said: "The relationship with China is increasingly important as far as the UK pig industry is concerned.

"It is a big growth area for exports and they take the sort of cuts and offal we don't have a great market for here."

But he said the impact of this British-China spat on trade was at the moment 'only speculation'.

"One thing I have observed is the current 'golden relationship' between the UK and China has not resulted in a particular acceleration in access to the Chinese market.

"So, by the same token, if there is a significant cooling of that relationship, I don't expect it to have a material impact on the speed with which we could access the market."

ANTIBIOTIC RECORDING

emb
Electronic Medicine Book

DIARY DATES


AVOID other organisers clashing with you... send in your Diary Dates here

September 5

NPA Pig Industry Summit, St Matthew's House, 20 Great Peter Street, Westminster, London. Places are limited so this event is by invitation only. Responses to invitations are due by Friday August 12 and cannot be accepted after that date


September 5, 2016

NPA Producer Group dinner, 7.30pm Royal Horseguards.


September 6, 2016

NPA Producer Group, Mary Sumner House.


September 6, 2016

NPA annual general meeting 2pm.


September 14, 2016

AHDB Pork board meeting.


September 27, 2016

NPA Allied Industry Group, Stoneleigh.


October 4, 2016

NPA south-west region meeting, Exeter Racecourse (to follow the George Vet Group pig fair on the same day).


October 10, 2016

NPA south-central region meeting Newbury Rugby Club.


October 11, 2016

Cambridge Pig Discussion Group — Agriray, "Lighting for livestock". Meet for a meal at The Lion and Lamb, Milton CB24 6DF at 6.30pm followed by the meeting at the College of West Anglia, Woodside Farm, Milton CB24 6DB.


October 13, 2016

NPA east region meeting, Diss Rugby Club.


October 18, 2016

North Riding Pig Discussion Group — speaker John and Charlotte Mosey, "Introduction to Ian Mosey Livestock and Animal Feeds. At Malton Golf Club, YO17 9QE. 7pm.


October 19, 2016

Pig and Poultry North 2016 — following on from the success of the inaugural event Garth Pig Practice Ltd and Minster Poultry Vets are hosting a second event with a wide range of speakers, at Sandburn Hall, York. This year's theme will be "Innovation and Technology in Monogastric Livestock Production". For further details please contact Rachel Wilkinson Rachel@garthvet.co.uk.


October 25, 2016

NPA north region meeting, Sandburn Hall, York.


October 31, 2016

South of the Humber Pig Discussion Group — Veterinary Forum with up-to-the-minute opinion by industry experts on the issues facing the industry. This will be a must-not-miss meeting.


November 2, 2016

AHDB Pork board meeting.


November 2, 2016

NPA Producer Group, Mary Sumner House.


November 8, 2016

Cambridge Pig Discussion Group — Hugh Crabtree, Farmex. Meet for a meal at The Lion and Lamb, Milton CB24 6DF at 6.30pm followed by the meeting at the College of West Anglia, Woodside Farm, Milton CB24 6DB.


November 9, 2016

National Pig Awards gala dinner, Lancaster London Hotel. Details.


November 22, 2016

North Riding Pig Discussion Group — speaker Alec Perrot, Philoe Nutrition, on feed additives and home mill and ixing. Venue Malton Golf Club, YO17 9QE, 7pm.


November 28, 2016

South of the Humber Pig Discussion Group — Martin Barker, managing director of Midland Pig Producers Ltd, will discuss how their business is implementing change to remain competitive and sustainable in the pig industry.


November 29, 2016

NPA Allied Industry Group, Stoneleigh.


December 8, 2016

Young NPA National Event in London. Details to follow.


December 13, 2016

Cambridge Pig Discussion Group — Christmas dinner.


January 10, 2017

Cambridge Pig Discussion Group — Chris Leamon. Meet for a meal at The Lion and Lamb, Milton CB24 6DF at 6.30pm followed by the meeting at the College of West Anglia, Woodside Farm, Milton CB24 6DB.


February 14, 2017

Cambridge Pig Discussion Group — Zoetis, Improvac. Meet for a meal at The Lion and Lamb, Milton CB24 6DF at 6.30pm followed by the meeting at the College of West Anglia, Woodside Farm, Milton CB24 6DB.


January 17, 2017

North Riding Pig Discussion Group — speaker Stephen Waite and Nigel Pritchard, JSR Genetics and Pig Production, "Production innovation - Facts and Feed". Malton Golf Club, YO17 9QE. 7pm. 


January 23, 2017

South of the Humber Pig Discussion GroupPlease note this is not the last Monday of January which is our normal date. The change of date due to circumstances outside of our control. Speaker: TBC.


February 21, 2017

North Riding Pig Discussion — speaker, Tony Wright, Shedden Farms, "Farm management and changes to production over the last 12 months". Malton Golf Club, YO17 9EQ. 7pm.


February 27, 2017

South of the Humber Pig Discussion GroupIndustry Panel — always an excellent evening, two speakers already confirmed, worth cancelling engagements in order to attend!


March 14, 2017

Cambridge Pig Discussion Group — Dr Sian Nichols, Trouw Nutrition. Meet for a meal at The Lion and Lamb, Milton CB24 6DF at 6.30pm followed by the meeting at the College of West Anglia, Woodside Farm, Milton CB24 6DB.


March 21, 2017

North Riding Pig Discussion Group, questions and answers on topical industry issues with industry panel consisting of Richard Lister, Adrian Cox, Ian Paragreen, Andrew Richardson, Malton Golf Club, YO17 9QE, 7pm. 


March 27, 2017

South of the Humber Pig Discussion GroupTBC — more details shortly.


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