MPs told of swill risks

MPs have been told that while the British pig industry supports the concept of feeding waste food to pigs, bringing back swill-feeding would be a risk too far.

Addressing the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Agroecology on food waste and pig feed on Tuesday, the NPA’s acting general manager, Lizzie Press, said there will never be a market for pig swill unless producers themselves think it’s a good idea – and they remained to be convinced.

She said foot-and-mouth, classical swine fever and African swine fever were almost inevitably here in Britain already, in meat brought in by visitors. And the only way to prevent major outbreaks, such as occurred in 2001, was to maintain uncompromisingly strict biosecurity to keep it away from farms.

Ms Press stressed the importance to pig farmers of co-products and by-products, but she feared the Pig Idea’s campaign to bring back swill feeding was sending the wrong signals, even if the swill was treated in tightly-regulated plants.

Notwithstanding the differences between NPA and the Pig Idea, NPA chairman Richard Longthorp observed that there was considerable common ground to be explored.

“Can’t we just go for the low-hanging fruit?” he asked Pig Idea campaigners Tristram Stuart and Thomasina Miers. “Let’s see if we can find some common goals.”

Among the other pig industry people who spoke from the floor at the meeting in the House of Commons were Marcus Bates of the British Pig Association; Michelle Sprent of Premier Nutrition; Jonathan French of BOCM Pauls; Jill Thompson of the Pig Veterinary Society; producer John Rigby; and Paul Featherstone of Sugarich.

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