HC Deb 08 May 2002 vol 385 c159W
Mr. Ruffley

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much post-weaning multisystematic wasting syndrome has added to the production costs of pig meat in the last 12 months. [53701]

Mr. Morley

Although no independent studies of the economic effects of this disease have been carried out, the economic consequences can be significant. When the disease is present on farm, the mortality rate for weaner pigs appears to increase from around 3 per cent.-5 per cent. to 5 per cent.-20 per cent. At worst, a continuous 20 per cent. post-weaning mortality rate would increase costs by an estimated £11.00 per 95kg pig sold. This represents 10 per cent.-14 per cent. of the average sale price.

In addition, the Meat and Livestock Commission estimates that some 300,000 pigs that would otherwise have reached slaughter weight have been lost to the disease. Based on this estimate, the loss to the pig industry is some £21 million at the farm gate, around 2.5 per cent. of total annual farm gate value.