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New investment needed

As the Danish industry urgently seeks to expand its pig finishing capacity with new, environmentally friendly housing, a recent BPEX report highlighted the urgent need for investment in the fabric of British pig production, to develop more modern facilities and improve its efficiency. The NPA has challenged the activities of various campaign groups seeking to obstruct any new investment in what they perceive as 'factory farming'.

The need to build new housing for finishing pigs has been a topic of major debate in Denmark in recent months. The industry has made a strong case to government on the need to encourage such a development, both on economic and environmental grounds. A reduction in the export of weaner pigs for finishing outside of Denmark would benefit local employment and economic growth. The use of new technologies will also assist in reducing the environmental impact of today’s pig production still further. These efforts were rewarded by a recent announcement that the Danish government were to allocate a budget of DKK 150m (£17m) to supporting the building of new, environmentally friendly pig housing.

A new BPEX report ("Pig buildings and associated technology: industry survey report") was based on responses from 60 pig businesses. The findings concluded that:

  • 51% of pig buildings are more than 20 years old
  • 90% of farms accept that their current facilities are not ideal and wished to make new investments
  • Many producers have not made substantive investments in the last ten years
  • Lack of confidence in a profitable business and concern about the cost of new buildings relative to anticipated returns were among the main reasons for not investing in new facilities

This lack of investment in new facilities and its impact on efficiency, is a major contributor to the relatively high cost of production in GB in relation to many EU competitors.

Significant media coverage followed a decision to withdraw an application for the development of an enterprise housing 8,000 pigs on the Earl of Devon’s Powderham Estate, where CIWF had been active in objecting to the proposals:

The NPA recently issued a challenge to the numerous NGOs, who were seeking to obstruct quite legitimate and much needed investments in the infrastructure of the British pig industry. Recent examples of such activity, included CIWF, the Soil Association 'Not in my banger' campaign and the 'Raw' campaign, which has attracted a lot of NGO support.