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We're Worth A Fair Deal, Says Mass Rally

by 5m Editor
4 March 2008, at 10:50am

UK - Hundreds of pig farmers from across the country today brought their campaign for fairer prices for their pigs to Downing Street.

The 'Pigs are worth it! Rally' aims to secure support from MPs and Peers for the pig farmers' fight to save British pig farming. The British pig industry is on the verge of vanishing. Feed prices have doubled over the past year and farmers are now losing more than £20 on every pig raised.

Farmers will be joined by in Westminster by "Winnie The Pig", veteran of the pig farmers' three month protest in Parliament Sq in 2000, and a petition of over 13,000 names will be presented to Downing Street at midday. The event is being organised by the National Pig Association, with the support of the British Pig Executive (BPEX).

Government Support Needed

A cross party Early Day Motion tabled by British pig industry supporter Richard Bacon MP will call for the Government's support to stop the disappearance of British pig farming.

Consumers have said they are happy to pay more for high welfare pork to help farmers. Supermarkets have raised prices on fresh pork, bacon and other pork products, but little, if any, of this increase has flowed down the supply chain to farmers.

BPEX Chairman Stewart Houston said: "We have reached crisis point. Without an increase, farmers stand to lose approximately £200 million in the next year and many face the prospect of going out of business. Then consumers will lose the choice to buy higher welfare Quality Standard Mark pork, bacon and ham. Two-thirds of all imported produce would be illegal to produce in the UK as it doesn't meet our higher welfare standards."

Richard Bacon MP said, "Saving the British pig has to be a priority for MPs from all parties. The British pig industry has the highest animal welfare standards and that's something we should be supporting. I have written to the supermarkets and processors asking that they do what they can to help secure a fair price for British pig farmers."

A Fair Deal, Please

Richard Longthorp, a pig farmer from Howden in Yorkshire said: "We don't want any special treatment. All we are asking for is a fairer share. Feed represents around 50 per cent of our costs and this has gone up massively. Prices are going up but we're not getting a share of it. If things don't change we'll see a lot of farmers going out of business."

The Rally will take place in Whitehall, opposite Downing Street. A petition calling for support for pig farmers will be presented to Number Ten at 12pm by a group of pig farmers. A demonstration in Whitehall will follow with farmers meeting MPs and Peers to ask for their support.

Coaches to bring farmers to the Rally have been organised from the pig farming heartlands of Yorkshire, East Anglia and the West Country.

5m Editor