30 March 2000
Pig farmers pledge to maintain vigil

By FWi staff

PIG producers demonstrating outside Parliament in a bid to highlight the crisis in their industry will maintain their vigil despite Tony Blairs aid package.

Farmers outside the House of Commons welcomed the prime ministers first-year package of 26 million for a scheme to help restructure the pig industry.

But the round-the-clock vigil, which enters its third month at Parliament Square this weekend, will continue, said vigil organiser Hugh Crabtree.

The government favours restructuring the industry. But the protestors also want compensation for extra costs imposed on their sector after the BSE crisis.

“The government is afraid of the C-word,” said Mr Crabtree.

John Godfrey, chairman of the National Pig Association, represented the pig sector at the summit with Mr Blair and industry leaders on Thursday (30 March).

Mr Blair promised to review the costs which were imposed on the pig industry in the wake of the BSE crisis, he said.

The NPA believes pig farmers could save about 70m a year if anti-BSE measures costing producers 5.25 per pig were scaled down, said Mr Godfrey.

“We welcome todays personal show of support by Mr Blair for the standards set by our industry and its efforts in meeting consumer demands,” he added.

“We look forward to his continued involvement in the plans and the necessary investment to move the industry out of crisis.”