Why it is still so important to engage

Writing in the April issue of Pig World, Annie Davis who works at the George Veterinary Group in Wiltshire, highlights why it is still so important to get involved in industry issues

I am rapidly becoming weary of the term ‘social distancing’. As someone who can smell more than a little pungent by the end of a working day, social distancing is actively employed by the other occupants of my house (at least until a shower and a change of clothes is affected).

In the context of COVID-19, it may well be a successful means of slowing the spread of the virus, however inconvenient. The concept of enhanced biosecurity to limit or prevent exposure to virulent disease is not unknown to the industry.

Indeed, I had a feeling of déjà vu when considering the year ahead, noting the similarity with 2001, when ‘normal’ life was suspended, and we entered into a significant period of uncertainty with massive economic and emotional effects.

My original topic for this issue was to exhort producers to get involved with industry issues. There is always a shortage of pig producers on various groups and committees, despite an ever-increasing need for their opinions and input as policies are re-examined, standards change and the post-Brexit plan is formulated. All-too-often, it is the same small group of producers who give their time to these matters.

While there is a time commitment, this would not be as onerous if more were prepared to be involved. Everyone who has an opinion should be prepared to share it to protect and promote our industry.

Keeping our heads below the parapet or buried in sand may be convenient in the short term, but will be damaging in the long term. If we don’t engage, then there is little chance of influencing future decisions and policy, some of which carry significant consequences.

At the time of writing, industry meetings are already being suspended or cancelled. Although we are being encouraged to maintain a degree of social distancing, now is not the time to be professionally distanced.

There are still several industry consultations under way, or about to be launched, not to mention the revision of Farm Assurance Standards and surveys to assess the impact potential changes may have on our industry.

It seems we will be in uncharted territory for a while. So, while I currently cannot encourage you to leave your wellies at home and come to meetings or volunteer for Producer Groups or Pig Health and Welfare Council groups, may I ask you to engage wherever possible?

This might be by taking part in industry surveys or by responding to consultations directly or via your regional NPA representative.

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