Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM), Martin Heydon, has said that “it is particularly important to maintain and grow our reputation in relation to animal welfare standards”, referring to the pig sector.

He made the comments as he chaired the second meeting of the Pig Roundtable this week (July 28) adding that the pig sector has had great success in international markets.

The minister noted that all parties want a competitive and sustainable industry that survives and thrives into the future. 

pig roundtable trade agreements level playing field
Minister Martin Heydon

“To ensure this happens, we need to futureproof the industry, and addressing One Health, One Welfare issues will be key in that regard,” the minister said.

Roundtable debate

According to the minister, members of the roundtable had a robust and constructive discussion about various aspects of pig welfare.

Minister Heydon stressed the need for all parties to continue to work together for the long-term greater good of the sector.

“The Pig Roundtable has been tasked with addressing some challenging topics that face the sector in the immediate and longer term.

“However, I firmly believe that by working together, the Irish pig sector can plot out a route to a sustainable and competitive future,” Minister Heydon said.

The next meeting of the roundtable, with a focus on animal health, is scheduled for October.

Pig market

The roundtable also heard an update on the market outlook from Bord Bia.

Notwithstanding the problems caused by Covid-19 in the first half of 2020, Bord Bia said the sector showed itself to be resilient with export values of €893 million in 2020, an increase of 270% in value over the past decade.

The industry is the third largest agri-food sector after dairy and beef.

Roundtable members include pig farmers, farm and processing representative bodies, Teagasc, Bord Bia and DAFM officials.