CIWF Accused of Undermining Pig Welfare

2 March 2012, at 8:51am

UK - Compassion in World Farming and the Soil Association are threatening the welfare of pigs on British farms, says the National Pig Association.

The NPA is concerned by their campaigns to prevent pig producers from replacing worn-out housing, even though modern pig housing is more welfare- and environment-friendly, as well as being more efficient.

If these two organisations are successful in their aims, the British pig herd will shrink as older housing becomes uneconomic, and the growing gap in production will be taken up by lower-welfare imports, says NPA.

In particular NPA condemns Compassion in World Farming for sending quasi-official letters to pig farmers, in which it threatens to oppose planning applications unless the applicants disclose confidential management information to Compassion in World Farming. NPA also condemns the Soil Association for supplying planners with misinformation intended to give the impression British pigs are produced in the same way as intensive pig production in other countries.

“The peasant farming idyll promoted by these two organisations has little relevance in a world with a fast-growing population that needs affordable food,“ said NPA chairman Stewart Houston.

“If their continued attacks on our higher-welfare British pig industry are successful, they will succeed in shutting down pig production in Britain and supermarkets will import more lower-welfare pork from elsewhere in the world.“

Most of the objections raised by Compassion in World Farming and the Soil Association are not related to planning matters and should be ignored by planners. For instance, Compassion in World Farming has written to applicants demanding to know the precise nature of the enrichment materials to be used in proposed new housing.

However, NPA is concerned the constant attacks on British pig production will soon reach a point where most pig producers are dissuaded from putting up new housing, because of the planning difficulties involved.

“If their intention is to drive economic pig production out of Britain, then there is a real danger they will succeed, but I fail to see who will benefit,“ said NPA chairman Stewart Houston. “Consumers won’t, producers won’t, and the pigs left in old, inefficient buildings won’t either.

“The return to peasant farming espoused by these two organisations will result in fewer pigs, lower welfare, and more imports. We expect this kind of behaviour from the extreme vegan organisations but Compassion in World Farming and the Soil Association should know better. Their priorities ought to lie elsewhere.“