8 February 2000
Farmers dump manure at Downing St

By FWi staff

PIG producers manning a round-the-clock vigil outside the House of Commons have delivered a wheelbarrow of pig manure to Downing Street.

The farmers brought a pig to London in protest at the governments refusal to compensate pig producers for the additional cost of BSE-related restrictions

“The manure is the inevitable result of having a pig in Parliament Square,” said vigil organiser David Graham.

“It was done to show [Tony Blair] that we are here and that we are not going away until we get what we deserve from him.”

Producers believe they are entitled to 270 million of European union state aid to pay for the cost of disposing of pig offal, estimated at 5.26 per pig.

Mr Graham said he believed the protest would not adversely affect the publics perception of pig farmers or the Prime Ministers willingness to help.

He emphasised that the “gift” was for Mr Blair to use it in his garden. He added: “It was a present from us to him and now we want a present back,” he said.

Pig farmers claim that they are being unfairly driven out of business by imports of cheap pigmeat produced under conditions that are illegal in the UK.

Stall-and-tether production systems, used to rear pigs in confined conditions on the Continent, were outlawed in the UK early last year.

A campaign to ban sow stalls abroad has been launched by the animal welfare group Compassion in World Farming. The group backed the London protest.

“London may not be the ideal place for a pig but its certainly better than a continental sow stall,” said a spokesman for the organisation.