July 7, 2006


UK pig farms may move overseas



A UK study warned that the growing pressures on its pork industry would see production moved overseas.


The study, done by the RAC environmental group, was the first of its kind delving into the environmental impact and resource efficiency of the UK pig sector.


The study found that while UK consumption of pork remained stagnant, imports have been increasing.


The UK pig industry can only be sustainable if it can stimulate local demand or encourage consumption of locally-produced foods, the study said. 


The study pointed out it is likely that integrated businesses would increasingly move production and primary processing sites overseas due to the high costs of infrastructure development in the UK.


The study also found that nearly 60 percent of the bacon eaten in the UK is imported from mainly Denmark and the Netherlands and that three-quarters of the pork purchased in the country now comes from supermarkets.


Nearly 7.8 million tonnes manure are excreted annually by the UK national pig herd. Effective use of this on arable land would reduce nitrogen content on farms, the study said.


The project was made possible by grant from Biffaward, a multi-million pound environment fund managed by the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts.


The report forms part of the Biffaward Mass Balance Programme. The aim of this programme is to inform environmental policy by providing accessible, well-researched information about the flows of different resources through the UK economy.