December 11, 2008
Irish pig farmers want plants reopened after dioxin scare

Hundreds of Irish pork farmers affected by a dioxin scare warned Wednesday (December 10) they faced ruin unless processing plants are immediately reopened, as they protested outside crisis talks on their crippled industry.

Waving placards saying "No Christmas, No Future for Irish pig farmers," they gathered outside the Department of Agriculture in Dublin, where negotiations were taking place about their demands for millions of euros in compensation.

Ireland ordered a recall of all pork and pork products at the weekend following the discovery of cancer-causing dioxins in pigs from nine farms which are thought to have eaten tainted feed.

The government has also halted the sale and slaughter of pigs, which has left about a third of the 6,000 people working in the industry without work.

"We have to get the industry back up and running as soon as possible," said Padraig Walshe, the president of the Irish Farmers' Association. "The whole industry is paralyzed."

Negotiations resumed Wednesday after 13 hours of talks Tuesday ended without agreement.

Prime Minister Brian Cowen told parliament he was "confident of achieving an outcome that will facilitate the early resumption of processing".

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