French farce benefits UK pig farmers
By Peter Crichton
SIGNS are emerging that the controversy surrounding French farming practices could benefit British pig producers suffering from almost two years of heavy losses.
British pig farmers have campaigned long and hard to highlight the plight affecting their industry, despite the high production standards they employ.
But French producers seem to have achieved more in the space of a just few days to bring public and media attention to the suffering of the UK industry.
The “sewage feed” story has produced a storm of controversy on both sides of the channel, and has brought pig production methods into public scrutiny.
Although this feeding practice has been common knowledge for over three months within the industry, only now has it grabbed the media spotlight.
As a result, British pig farmers have at last been able to tell consumers just how welfare-friendly British pigmeat is produced.
At the same time, there has been a spate of militant activity by pig producers in many parts of the country.
East Anglian pig farmers have also taken a live crated sow to supermarkets to illustrate the way imported pigmeat from many other EU countries is produced.
Asda has already been targeted and, as a result, has promised to provide further assurances concerning its increasing support for the UK pig industry.
Tesco, Sainsburys and other major multiples will also be receiving similar attention in the weeks ahead, according to a BPISG spokesperson.
Live crated sows were once again taken to the Houses of Parliament on Wednesday following their initial visit on 22 September.
The stunt received wide national media coverage, which coincided with a House of Commons debate on the crisis in farming.
Other action included the dumping of pig manure at MAFF offices and near supermarkets in Norfolk and Suffolk accompanied by “bon appetit” messages.