Prime Minister Joins Campaign to Save British Bacon

15 October 2012, at 7:30am

UK - Prime Minister David Cameron and Home Secretary Theresa May, along with scores of MPs and MEPs, have pledged their support for British pig farmers' Save Our Bacon campaign, which has attracted media coverage around the world.

The nation's pig farmers are urging shoppers to save British bacon for future generations by looking for the independent Red Tractor logo when shopping, as this proves the meat comes from British farms, which have higher welfare standards than many foreign pig farms.

"I am delighted to be able to support the Save Our Bacon campaign," said Prime Minister David Cameron in a message of support to the industry.

And Home Secretary Theresa May said in her message, "British pig farms can be rightfully proud of the high quality and high welfare pork and pork products they produce. Ministers welcome the chance to encourage people to support these standards and buy pig products endorsed with the Red Tractor logo."

Britain's pig farmers are asking for the public's support because harvest failure around the world has caused the cost of pig feed to soar. Feed wheat, a key ingredient, has increased over 30 percent since the beginning of the year and soya has increased over 65 per cent.

As feed accounts for 65 per cent of the cost of raising a bacon pig, this has plunged Britain's pig producers into loss, and it is feared production could be down by as much as ten percent by Christmas.

"Pig farmers don't have the benefit of European subsidies," said pig producer Richard Longthorp, chairman of National Pig Association which is running the Save Our Bacon campaign.

"So we can only survive these exceptional costs if the large supermarkets choose to pay us a fair price as a matter of urgency — and for that to happen we need shoppers to make a special effort to demonstrate their support for high welfare British bacon, sausages and pork."

In his message of support, David Cameron says: "I am keenly aware of the problems currently affecting pig producers largely because of the increase in grain prices over the last few months.

"I welcome the chance to encourage people to support and buy the high quality and high welfare British pork products, which are endorsed with the Red Tractor logo." And Theresa May says that whilst Government cannot set the prices that farmers receive, 'we welcome the Save Our Bacon campaign'.

Other government figures who have publicly pledged their support for National Pig Association's Save Our Bacon campaign include natural environment minister Richard Benyon, health minister Anna Soubry, culture minister Ed Vaizey, Scotland minister David Mundell and local government minister Eric Pickles.

"We asked our members to contact their MPs about the campaign and the response has been quite remarkable," said National Pig Association general manager Dr Zoe Davies.

"At a time when many pig producers simply don't know if they can hang on until they get a fair price to cover their increased costs of production, the support of so many leading figures in British politics has been an incredible boost to their morale."

Pig farmers around the world are being forced to quit production because they can no longer afford to feed their pigs. The National Pig Association has repeatedly warned that a global shortage of pigs next year will drive up the price of bacon and pork.

But if British producers can persuade supermarkets to pay a fair price now, more British pig farmers will be able to stay in production, which will reduce the impact on British shoppers and ensure there is a plentiful supply of British bacon for future generations.