10 September 1998
Labour in Somerfield sponsorship row

THE Labour Party was embroiled in a row between animal welfare activists and a supermarket chain over sponsorship of its party conference next month.

Pig farmers are threatening to lobby the Blackpool gathering in protest at the financial backing Labour has been given by Somerfield.

The move follows claims that the firm is dragging its feet over new welfare rules which ban British farmers from keeping pigs in cages. It comes as pig producers launch a “Buy British” campaign to defend the industry from cheap imports from countries which do not have the new welfare laws.

Sow stall-and-tether systems which prevent pregnant pigs from exercising for up to four months during the breeding season will be banned next year. But a survey of supermarkets by Compassion in World Farming attacked Somerfield for continuing to stock pigmeat from Holland and Denmark that was not subject to such restrictions.

Somerfield is a major sponsor at the exhibition.