Asda Blockaded In Yorkshire Over Dual Standards

UK - Asda’s giant retail distribution depot near Wakefield in West Yorkshire was blockaded by angry Yorkshire and Lincolnshire pig farmers last night (Thursday, April 6). No lorries were allowed to enter for two and a half hours.
calendar icon 7 April 2006
clock icon 4 minute read

The blockaders were protesting about the dual standards operated by most major supermarkets – including Asda – which play lip service to animal welfare and fair-trading whilst importing a growing amount of pork raised on pig farms that would be illegal in this country.

According to British Pig Industry Support Group, most major supermarkets are increasing the amount of pork, bacon, ham and cooked meats they sell from farms where sows are still confined in narrow stalls, and young male pigs are barbarically castrated without anaesthetic.

British Pig Industry Support Group was disbanded five years ago when most supermarkets started to clean up their act, but it re-formed two weeks ago to confront a new wave of deceit and subterfuge sweeping the high street as the retail giants fight for market share.

BPISG says its argument with Asda is not only that it is operating dual standards, which is jeopardising future investment in the high-welfare British pig industry, but it fails to label its imported product in a way that allows customers to make an informed choice.

“All the supermarkets are aware that when customers are asked if they prefer to buy high-welfare British pork or low-welfare imported pork, the vast majority choose British,” said a BPISG spokesman.

“We will not tolerate supermarkets deliberately confusing customers by using sleight-of-hand packaging in order to pass-off low-welfare products as OUR more expensively produced high-welfare British pork.

“If they are so proud of the welfare status of their imported pork, they should make clear on the packaging exactly what it is, where it comes from, and how the pigs are raised.

“But what some prefer to do is dress it up as British by using British-sounding names (tertiary brands) and by exploiting a legal loophole that allows imported product to be labelled “Produced in Britain” as long as it undergoes some processing in this country, such as being cut and packed.”

BPISG members are currently running a sticker campaign throughout the country. Bright red stickers saying “WARNING Does this imported pork meet United Kingdom production standards?” are being applied to suspect packages in targeted supermarkets.

In the light of the current campaign some retailers have agreed to open talks with pig producers on how these issues can be resolved – but Asda has not.

Last night Asda refused to negotiate with BPISG or even to produce a spokesman with the authority to agree a round of talks. As a result, the pig producers blockaded both entries of the retail giant’s retail distribution centre for two and a half hours, causing major disruption to deliveries.

The 50 protesters finally agreed to allow the lorries to move when they were almost outnumbered by unsympathetic police officers who threatened arrest for aggravated trespass.

Source: BPISG

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