Thursday, June 28, 2007

When Pigs Fly

It's because of European bureaucratic regulations:

Danish farmers are going to make pigs fly after new European Union rules on animal welfare made it longer and riskier to send them to Russia by truck.

Dan-Invest is planning to fly a total of 20,000 pigs this year and next for breeding at its five joint ventures in Russia, board chairman Kent Skaanning said Wednesday.

....Pig farming in Russia is growing rapidly, while Denmark offers some of the world's best breeding stock. But getting the pigs to Russia posed a challenge after EU rules went into effect at the beginning of this year that say livestock can travel no more than 24 hours without a 24-hour rest.

Not only do the rules make the four-day trip to Russian farms twice as long, but they also increase the risk of the pigs contracting an infection on the way, Skaanning said.

"It's important for us to protect the pigs," he said. "When the pigs reach the destination, we have a risk that they will be ill."

Flying pigs to Russia will come at twice the cost but take only five hours at most, Skaanning said. He said a Russian airline has offered to fly 600 pigs at a time, he said. That would make about 24 planeloads of pigs.

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