28 October 1999
Farmers take their case to Parliament

by Isabel Davies

FARMERS from across the UK are gathering in London to lobby MPs prior to a parliamentary debate this afternoon on the current crisis in agriculture.

Livestock producers from south-west England are giving away free beef sandwiches outside the French embassy before going to the House of Commons.

Over the past week farmers have stepped up their high profile campaign to draw attention to the plight of the industry.

On Tuesday, producers invited politicians to show their support for the UK industry by attending a barbecue staged outside Westminster.

The group of farmers warned that unless prompt action was taken then the whole UK pig sector could be lost.

They told MPs and waiting TV cameras that the state of the UK pig industry was a national scandal.

Pig farmer David Orpwood told Farmers Weekly he was determined to make sure that pigs were not left out of the debate.

Farmers highlighted that UK producers were burdened with a tax of £5.26 a pig because of BSE related charges at abattoirs.

Tighter labelling, a ban on imported meat that did not meet UK standards and government compensation to offset BSE-related charges were vital, they insisted.