December 17, 2008

Ireland to cull pigs on dioxin contamination issue

The Irish government has announced plans to slaughter about 100,000 pigs on the nine farms deemed to pose a threat to consumer health.


While culling compensation is essential, farmers will also need help to rebuild their businesses, said Padraig Walshe, president of the Irish Farmers' Association.


The sector is estimated to be losing GBP 900,000 (US$1.4 million) per day.


Irish pig production has become increasingly concentrated on larger units, and the nine farms account for at least 8 percent of the country's total output.


A further complication is that the plants where the pigs would normally be processed handle close to 80 percent of Irish slaughter.


Irish pork is regularly exported to about 30 countries, and UK is the largest importer as it accounts for 47 percent of the total trade.


All UK supermarkets have withdrawn products that contain more than 20 percent of Irish pork. China and Japan, which were both growing markets, have imposed total ban on Irish pork.


Several leading dairy companies have also slashed imports from Ireland, due to fears that the cows may have been fed with contaminated feed.

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