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NPA puts the record straight over use of PMSG in pigs

27th Jan 2017 / By Alistair Driver

The NPA has written to national newspapers which printed misleading stories over the links between the Pregnant Mares’ Serum Gonadotropin (PMSG) hormone and British meat.

The letter points out inaccuracies in the coverage of the horse blood scandal, which started with a report in the Mirror on January 26, with the headline:

'Vampire farms exposed: British meat in cruel horse hormone scandal as pregnant mares' blood is injected into pigs'

The letter, from NPA chief executive Zoe Davies, stresses that there is 'no chance this hormone would end up in meat products' and that use of PMSG is 'not by any means standard practice in the UK'.

The letter reads: 

Response to reports in the media on horse blood and UK pig production

Dear Editor,

I write to make you aware of a misunderstanding which I believe has resulted from a miscommunication in regards to the use of Pregnant Mares’ Serum Gonadotropin in pig production.

There is no chance this hormone would end up in meat products.

In your article, you say pork products sold in the UK come from pigs that have been given the hormone PMSG. This is not the case.

It is important to stress that, as an oestrus synchronisation product for breeding pigs, it would not normally be used in pigs destined for meat. Although breeding animals do enter the food chain, every prescribed veterinary medicine has defined withdrawal periods before which animals can be sent for slaughter to ensure no residues enter the food chain and this is monitored by the Government.

Despite suggestions in the media that this is a story about UK pig meat, we want to make it clear, the use of products containing PMSG is not by any means standard practice in the UK.

The UK pig industry prides itself on the high standards that underpin our pig production.

As we have previously stated, we are aware that a small number of products containing PMSG are authorised for use in pigs in the UK for the induction and synchronisation of oestrus.  However, in the UK, good management such as boar presence, sow nutrition and proper lighting means that sows naturally return to oestrus after weaning which negates the need to use them. The little that is used is likely to be to treat infertility rather than speed up normal fertility.

Thank you.

Kind regards, 

Dr Zoë Davies

Chief Executive Officer, National Pig Association