Pig petition mooted

22 Jan, 2003 10:00 PM

IT'S almost a foregone conclusion that Muchea will be the location of the next livestock saleyards, but will not include pigs.

Among the people who claim they are being left in the dark about the whole affair are the small pig growers and specialty butchers who are wondering where their specific pig facility will end up.

At last week's pig sale at Midland, pig growers and small butchers alike were on hand to view the small yarding of 304 pigs and discussed what the future may hold.

There was talk at the sale about petitioning Minister Chance about looking into the necessity of providing to the needs of the small growers and specialty butchers.

Elders pig section manager Fred Bainbridge pointed out that even with all the discussion and rhetoric surrounding the location of the pig facility, the small growers, who were not members of WAPPA, numbering more than 300, had not been asked about it.

"I believe there should be two petitions, one for the growers asking why they haven't been consulted and one from the butchers who need a yardstick in the auction system to determine price," he said.

Michael Princi, butcher and smallgoods operator in Malaga and North Perth, said that the petition should be signed by all butchers in an attempt to get the message across to the Minister for Agriculture Kim Chance.

The fear is that if WAPPA is the main player pulling the strings it could turn ugly for the smaller growers and eventually the small producers will be forced to buy at set prices.

Mike Donnelly, CEO Meat Industry Authority (MIA), said that the auction system was exactly what open competition was all about.

"At the end of the day having an open market system promotes open prices, if a couple of buyers and a couple of large growers have the monopoly where does that leave the small growers?"

The feeling of the small and specialty butchers seems to be that a multi species facility, that included pigs, would be the ideal situation for them.

This was due to the fact that buyers would have to drive to one place to choose their pigs and the next place to choose their beef and sheep, culminating in a lot more travel than they feel is necessary.

Mr Bainbridge agreed with the butcher's sentiment.

"Although we'd still prefer pigs be sold from the same yards as other livestock it seems certain that this will not happen out of respect for the Muslim market and their strict regulations regarding cattle and sheep not coming into contact with pigs at any stage," he said.


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