August 2013 – Some retailers’ behaviour makes my blood boil

At last the sun is shining, herd health is looking pretty good and prices are, for once, heading in the right direction – and long may it continue. Hopefully people are able to use this period to start to refill empty coffers, reinvest, plan for the future and generally start to feel a little more positive about the job. Lord knows we need a little respite and positivity.

If there’s a slight dark cloud on the horizon, it comes in the form of the new variant of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea (PED) virus that is currently storming across the United States, having come from China.

Although we’ve had a stable form of PED over here for years, this unstable variant is causing mortality of between 50-100% in piglets, which those of us who had to deal with PMWS will know exactly what that could be like, only worse.

The most important challenge will be keeping it out in the first place, so please be on your guard, think about imports and notify anything suspicious to your vet ASAP. Second, if we do get it over here we need to stamp it out as soon as possible before it spreads. Thankfully the industry is already preparing the battleground, so there’s plenty of advice out there and surveillance programmes will be ramping up to keep an eye out.

Turning to the retailers now, we continue to monitor commitments made after the horsemeat scandal to support British meat in order to ensure that they keep up their end of the deal. It was really good to see Sainsbury’s committing to 100% British on fresh pork following earlier commitments on ham and sausages, but we’re already seeing some of the other major retailers pulling back and switching supply to cheaper European product as soon as they think people aren’t watching.

This behaviour makes my blood boil, especially when they demand higher and tougher requirements from British suppliers over how they produce their pork, then ship in whatever they like from Europe through the back door, often replacing British product with it! A word of warning, we are watching…

Finally, as I start to look more like a whale every day, and can no longer see my feet, I’m really pleased to say that my regions manager, Lizzie Press, will be taking over from me as acting general manger during my six-month maternity leave from mid-September.

I’m hoping it will be a peaceful few months, but confident that come what may, my very able team is more than capable of looking after the place. You won’t even realise that I’m gone!

> Dr Zoe Davies is general manager of the NPA. For more information visit: www.npa-uk.org.uk

with chills. Especially after the past two days I’ve had!

> Dr Zoe Davies is general manager of the NPA. For more information visit: www.npa-uk.org.uk 

– See more at: http://www.pig-world.co.uk/news/fullstory.php/aid/6322/July_2013_-_Holed-up_at_Defra.html#sthash.dCYOtCUl.dpuf

> Dr Zoe Davies is general manager of the NPA. For more information visit: www.npa-uk.org.uk  – See more at: http://www.pig-world.co.uk/news/fullstory.php/aid/6322/July_2013_-_Holed-up_at_Defra.html#sthash.dCYOtCUl.dpuf
> Dr Zoe Davies is general manager of the NPA. For more information visit: www.npa-uk.org.uk  – See more at: http://www.pig-world.co.uk/news/fullstory.php/aid/6322/July_2013_-_Holed-up_at_Defra.html#sthash.dCYOtCUl.dpuf

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