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Temporary visas to help tackle pig backlogs
The NPA believes that some 6,000 pigs have been culled so far on farms owing to a lack of space.
Government announces package of measures to avoid further culls.

Up to 800 overseas butchers will be eligible to apply for temporary visas to help ease the backlog on UK pig farms, the Government has announced.

Under the plans, pork butchers will have until 31 December to apply for visas from the existing allocation in the Seasonal Workers Pilot Scheme, allowing them to travel and work in the UK for six months. 

The Government said the move is ‘not a long term solution’ and businesses 'must make long term investments in the UK domestic workforce to build a high-wage, high-skill economy, instead of relying on overseas labour.'

It forms part of a package of measures announced by the Government on Thursday (14 October) to ease the growing pressure on the pig sector. The NPA believes that around 6,000 pigs have been culled so far on farms owing to a lack of space.

Reacting to the announcement, NPA chief executive Zoe Davies said: "We are so very relieved that the Government has finally released some measures aimed at reducing the significant pig backlog on farms.

"We are working with the processors to understand the impact of these new measures and to determine exactly what will happen now, and how quickly, so that we can give pig farmers some hope and stem the flow of healthy pigs currently having to be culled on farms."

Other measures announced on Thursday include a Government-funded private storage aid scheme in England. The scheme will enable meat processors to store slaughtered pigs for three-six months, so they can be preserved safely and processed at a later date. 

The Government has also pledged to work with the pig industry to introduce processing of animals on Saturdays and longer working days where possible. 

Defra secretary, George Eustice, said: “A unique range of pressures on the pig sector over recent months such as the impacts of the pandemic and its effect on export markets have led to the temporary package of measures we are announcing today. This is the result of close working with industry to understand how we can support them through this challenging time.”

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VET Festival returns for 2022

News Story 1
 VET Festival, the unique CPD opportunity, is returning for 2022, running from 20 to 21 May.

The outdoor event, held at Loseley Park in Guildford, will feature 17 education streams, with a dedicated stream covering veterinary wellness, leadership and management topics. The festival will feature veterinary speakers from around the world, with the opportunity to collect 14 hours of CPD across the two-day event.

Alongside veterinary education, VET Festival will also offer wellbeing activities such as yoga and mindfulness activities, with the popular VETFest Live Party Night making a return for 2022.

Tickets available here.  

Click here for more...
News Shorts
Avian influenza housing order declared in Yorkshire

A new avian influenza prevention zone has been declared in North Yorkshire following the identification of H5N1 avian influenza at a number of premises.

The requirement means all bird keepers in Harrogate, Hambleton and Richmondshire are now legally required to keep their birds indoors and follow strict biosecurity measures.

Several other cases of H5N1 avian influenza have also been confirmed in recent days at sites in Essex, Cheshire and Cumbria. On Monday (22 November), the disease was identified near Wells-next-the-Sea, North Norfolk.