Farmers face multi-million pound bill for the sake of a millimetre
Thursday, April 19 2012
British pig producers will find it harder it earn their bacon thanks to new EU regulations and the matter of a millimetre.
West Midlands MEP Mike Nattrass and a pig farmer from Staffordshire have hit out at interfering Eurocrats in Brussels who are making a pig’s ear of things again through the introduction of new EU rules which will cost the British pig industry millions of pounds.
Sixty-eight-year-old Richard Beddall, who is a pig farmer based in Newcastle-under-Lyme, and UKIP MEP Mike Nattrass have attacked a new EU directive which will require pig producers to reduce the gap in slatted floors by a single millimetre (from 19mm to 18mm).
The rules, which are due to come into force in January, will cost British farmers around £28 million as they will be forced to make expensive alterations to their pig sheds to comply with the regulations.
Commenting on this latest slurry to come out of Brussels , Mr Nattrass said: “You just could not make it up. The EU wants British pig producers to fork out millions of pounds on these expensive upgrades when at the same time the European Union stubbornly insists that we should prop up the crisis-hit economies of Eurozone PIGS (Portugal , Ireland , Greece and Spain ).
“At the end of the day the British pig industry is facing a multi-million pound bill all for a millimetre. Bacon rind is thicker than that. Mr Beddall himself would be forced to spend thousands on his buildings to comply with these rules.
“Mr Beddall cares for his animals. As he says, happy animals will thrive, grow and make you money.
“These latest rules from the Brussels legislation sausage machine will decimate the British pig industry.
“Farmers will be forced out of business and more meat will have to be imported from abroad. So much for food miles. Giving the EU a millimetre will cost our pig industry millions of pounds.
“We should make our own laws and regulations in Westminster . Farmers just want to farm and earn a living but their time is being increasingly consumed by ever-increasing red tape.”
Mr Nattrass added: “The EU is sow-ing the seeds of discontent.”
Mr Beddall, who has been a full-time farmer for more than 50 years, said: “The regulations are being changed all of the time and these latest EU regulations are really going to do some damage. I have had to hire a consultant to deal with all the forms and paperwork.
“I am going to retire at the end of the year. It would cost thousands of pounds to alter all of my buildings to comply with the new EU regulations which come into force on January 1 next year.
“There is just ever increasing bureaucracy and nonsense. It’s infantile. From January the gap will have to be reduced from 19mm to 18mm. This will cost the industry millions of pounds. I have spoken to farmers who just say to comply will cost them too much money. It is a major job to install these slats.
“Up will go prices and out will go pig producers. On the industry’s tombstone it would be written ‘here lies the British pig industry, destroyed by the EU’.”