NPA hits out at Soil Association

The head of the National Pig Association has written to planners refuting claims that a large-scale pig unit in Foston would pose a threat to human health.

In the letter to Derbyshire County Council, NPA chairman Stewart Houston said that that criticism levelled at Midland Pig Producers’ proposals by the Soil Association had been “distinctly selective” and urged planners to be guided by the facts as presented.

The Soil Association, which opposes the Midland Pig Producers application, has claimed that that the pig unit could increase the risk of swine flu and MRSA, and that the proposed anaerobic digester would be potentially unsafe.

Houston said that the Soil Association's interpretation of the Foston application was “entirely incorrect”. He  argued that it was incorrect to assume that there were higher levels of swine flu on large-scale British pig farms and that MRSA had not even been detected in the United Kingdom pig population.

""It is primarily a hospital-acquired infection in the UK, and livestock do not play any role in its transmission," he said.

Houston said the Soil Association was also wrong about claims that the Dutch government is proposing a 900-sow limit on new pig farms in the Netherlands.

He urged planners to be guided by the facts and supporting documents, as submitted by Midland Pig Producers in its planning application.