HC Deb 25 November 1999 vol 339 c205W
25. Mr. Jack

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on his Department's latest assessment of the financial strength of the pig industry. [98862]

Ms Quin

The market price for pigs has been below the cost of production since May 1998. At its present level of 77 p/kg, pig producers are, on average, losing around £9 on every pig sold.

26. Mr. Malcolm Bruce

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what measures he proposes to take to support the British pig industry. [98863]

Ms Quin

In discussions with the representatives of the British pig industry, we have developed an action programme aimed at helping pig producers through this very difficult period. This includes:

  1. (a) making available an extra £6 million for marketing and promotion from which the pig industry should benefit significantly;
  2. (b) promoting animal welfare and other standards of UK pigmeat.
  3. (c) writing to MPs and Local Authorities to emphasise importance of sourcing to British standards;
  4. (d) writing to Commissioner Fischler arguing the case for re-opening EU private storage aid scheme and restoring special refund on exports to Russia;
  5. (e) going back to next meeting of SEAC to consider whether current ban on use of MBM from pigs is still justified.
  6. (f) tackling misleading labelling. Revised guidelines on origin marking have gone out to public consultation;
  7. (g) better auditing of claims on welfare and other standards of imported products;
  8. (h) meeting individual retailers and caterers to insist they reaffirm their commitment last December in sourcing from stall and tether and MBM free production systems and on misleading labelling.