NPA ‘incredibly concerned’ about breeding pigs trade after EU exit


By Alistair Driver, Pig World (UK)

September 8, 2020


NPA chief executive Zoe Davies has said she is ‘incredibly concerned’ about the future of live exports of breeding pigs after the transition period ends.


Dr Davies recently attended the Brexit breeding groups meeting with Defra, which was initially set up by NPA to address specific issues faced by the breeding companies as part of EU Exit.


Among the issues discussed were the implication for exports of breeding stock if there is no trade deal in place by January 1, 2021, which, after the events of the past few days, appears increasingly likely. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said a trade deal with the EU must be agreed by October 15, insisting that if this does not happen, both sides should ‘accept that and move on’, adding that it would be a ‘good outcome’ for the UK.


There could also be implications even if a deal is in place with the EU.


As things currently stand, after January 1, any live animal exported to the EU will have to pass through a Border Control Post (BCP) on entering the EU to enable the correct veterinary checks to be made.  At present, there are no registered BCPs at ports in France, the Netherlands or Belgium – the nearest is Spain.


Most UK breeding animals are exported from Dover to Calais as this is the shortest route. Already this year over 10,000 breeding pigs have now been exported through this route, a trade that is not only very important for UK businesses, but vital for the future of the UK herd. But if the French ports do not register as a BCP for live animals, the trade would effectively cease as there are few alternative options, Dr Davies explained.


“I remain incredibly concerned about the future of live breeding pig exports if we don’t have a deal in place,“ she said.


“If this trade is unable to continue, breeding companies may well be forced to leave UK and relocate to more accessible countries, which would have a significant knock-on effect on the whole industry. Not only would we have to import more breeding stock, which could carry enhanced biosecurity threats, the imports would also cost more and herd productivity could be severely affected longer term.”


Even a deal is reached with the EU, animals may still have to go through BCPs, Zoe added.


The decision on whether or not to apply to become a BCP for live animals is down to the port authority itself. The NPA is currently in the process of working with all other affected sectors to contact the ports individually seek a viable solution.


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