64 new rules for city's pig farmers outlined

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 13 February, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 13 February, 2007, 12:00am

Sixty-four new rules for the dwindling ranks of city pig farmers will come into force from June.

Farmers who break them could lose their licences. One pig farmer said the rules would put farmers out of business.

The rules, outlined yesterday, cover hygiene, farm management, disease monitoring, waste handling and the conditions in which pigs are transported.

Farmers are required to keep and administer only approved veterinary drugs and vaccines, and keep accurate records of treatment, and farms must have disinfection facilities.

To deal with pollution from farm waste, farmers are required to check their animals at least twice daily and keep accurate records of the volume of waste discharged.

Farmers guilty of minor breaches of the rules will get written warnings or be required to reduce the number of pigs they keep. Those whose actions lead to serious threats to environmental health or public health will be stripped of their licences or denied renewal of them.

Liu Kwei-kin, assistant director of the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, said it would improve farm safety and efficiency.

Tam Keung, who has run a pig farm in Fanling for more than 10 years, said: 'It is apparent that the government is imposing various restrictions on us in an attempt to force us to quit the industry.'

There were 265 pig farms in Hong Kong in June, supplying about a fifth of the city's pork, when the department introduced a compensation scheme for pig farmers who quit the industry.

So far, 114 had applied to surrender licences under the scheme, in return for compensation of between HK$450,000 and around HK$20 million, Dr Liu said.