Pig Industry

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Agriculture, Fisheries and Food – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 1st July 1999.

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Photo of Mr Christopher Gill Mr Christopher Gill Conservative, Ludlow 12:00 am, 1st July 1999

Does the Minister accept that the Government are presiding over the biggest crisis in the pig industry that the country has known? He will be aware that the breeding herd is 23 per cent. down in only 18 months and threatens to go lower. The Government have had the opportunity to help the industry, but they have failed. For example, they recently decided not to allow the separate rendering of porcine offals for feed.

Is the Minister aware that I have asked questions about help from other Ministries? He should be, because I have raised that issue with him previously. On 20 May I wrote to Ministers at the Department of Health and at DETR and asked them to use their best offices to ensure that Local Authorities"— and health authorities— purchase only pork and pork products derived from pigs produced to the same high health and welfare standards as are applied in the UK. I have had no reply, other than an acknowledgement saying that the letter would be passed on to the Minister of Agriculture. Is that joined-up government?