Pig Farms

From Hansard

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what advice the Department has issued to farmers regarding the legality of continued use of the stall and tether pig housing system in the UK. [45155]

Magaret Beckett [holding answer 21 March 2002]: Legislation originally introduced in 1991 to ban close-confinement stalls for breeding sows came into full effect from January 1999. During the eight year phase-out period advisory material was issued and a video showing alternative systems produced.

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what reports the Chief Veterinary Officer has received from (a) animal welfare organisations, (b) members of the public, (c) Farm Assurance scheme inspectors, (d) other Government officials and (e) other persons that animal welfare had been compromised in pig units at (i) Oldlands Farm, Wiltshire and (ii) Shoddesden, Hampshire. [45149]

Margaret Beckett [holding answer 21 March 2002]: No complaints were received about either unit before allegations made by Sky News in June 2001.

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what investigations have been made by the Government into use of sow stall and tether housing systems on the pig units of (a) Oldlands Pig Unit, Wiltshire and (b) Shoddesden Pig Unit, Hampshire since 1999. [45154]

Margaret Beckett [holding answer 21 March 2002]: There have been veterinary inspections of both of these units. Allegations that illegal stall and tether systems were in use on these units after the ban was not substantiated.
11 Apr 2002 : Column: 591W
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to investigate the treatment of pigs at (a) Oldlands Pig Unit, Wiltshire and (b) Shoddesden Pig Unit, Hampshire. [45156]

Margaret Beckett [holding answer 21 March 2002]: There are no plans to investigate the treatment of pigs at these units as there are currently no pigs on either unit. Previous complaints were investigated and no breach of welfare regulations were found.

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when (a) Government ministers and (b) Government officials were first informed of the possibility that animal welfare had been compromised on pig units in (i) Oldlands Farm, Wiltshire and (ii) Shoddesden, Hampshire since 1997; and if she will make a statement. [45148]

Margaret Beckett [holding answer 21 March 2002]: Sky News first made allegations of poor welfare conditions on both units in June 2001. Allegations made in the media were fully investigated at the time and various claims made could not be substantiated by veterinary inspection.

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many (a) unannounced and (b) pre-arranged welfare inspections have taken place at the pig units of (i) Oldlands Farm, Wiltshire and (ii) Shoddesden, Hampshire since 1996.[45151]

Margaret Beckett [holding answer 21 March 2002]: There have been six welfare inspections of these units since April 1996. Whether the visits were pre-arranged or unannounced was not recorded in all cases, but the most recent visits in June 2001 and January 2002 were pre-arranged in order to have a responsible person on site to facilitate inspection and respond to enquiries.

Mr. Peter Atkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assistance she will give to pig farmers following the ban on feeding swill. [45386]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 25 March 2002]: The Government does not consider that financial assistance is appropriate for producers who have been required to change the feeding regimes of their animals. However, assistance was provided at the time of the introduction of the swill ban in the form of advice on alternative methods of feeding and alternative feeds that would be acceptable.