Pig World invited industry leaders to share their personal highs and lows from 2015, while also expressing a pig sector wish for 2016. Today’s contribution is from National Pig Association chief executive, Dr Zoe Davies.
PW: What was your pig sector highlight/lowpoint of 2015?
ZD: My lowpoint has probably been over the last month with far too many animal rights incursions, seeing members slide back into the red and lack of progress on several important issues affecting the industry, such as bTB, wild boar, manipulable materials, water provision for piglets and more bad news on antibiotic resistance!
My highpoint definitely has to be seeing my NPA team in action. I’m so proud of how professional and capable they all are. It really gives me a boost when everything else looks so impossible.
PW: What do you most hope will be achieved by UK pig producers in 2016?
ZD: I hope they manage to ride out the worst weather and stay afloat. Some of those EU producers simply have to drop out next year. I can’t believe they’ve managed to hang on for as long as they have. If we can get EU production to drop a little and UK pork consumption to increase (roll-on pulled pork stage 2) we might have a chance.
PW: What one pig industry experience did you enjoy most in 2015?
ZD: I think the best experience of 2015 has to be our visit to Pig World Pig Farmer of the Year Rick Buckle’s unit. It may well be in the back of beyond, but the whole farm was exemplary. Rick has such a great way of describing his high hygiene set up and is clearly worthy of the award given to him. They also fed me lunch, which always goes down exceptionally well!
PW: Would you like to make a “free pig sector comment” on something about which you feel strongly?
ZD: The pig sector gets a lot of bad press that is often unjustified, be it accusations over excessive antibiotic use, poor welfare or lack of innovation and skill. Pork consumption is dropping, supply has completely overtaken demand and we need to do something about it fast.
There are some fantastic ambassadors out there, however, who I know will be able to help us begin to reverse the view that consumers have adopted. We need people to be proud to promote this great industry of ours, come out fighting and get more people eating British pork. Volunteers please!