26 May 2000
Pig farmers threaten Asda over ads

By Alistair Driver

PIG farmers are threatening direct action against Asda in retaliation for the retailers attempts to scupper the current pigmeat advertising campaign.

Producers in the north and north-east of England said they would close down the supermarkets distribution centres early in the morning of Friday (26 May).

They claim that Asda threatened to remove the mark of distinction from its pigmeat products unless the controversial 4.6 million campaign for pigmeat is stopped.

The mark of distinction, highlighting minimum standards applying to British pigmeat, is being promoted in the campaign in the national press.

Advertisments which have appeared in newspapers last week press point out that farmers in other European countries keep pregnant sows in confined housing.

A second advertisement, due to appear soon, emphasises that meat and bonemeal is still fed to pigs in the rest of the European Union.

It shows a sow suckling piglets and a slogan along the lines of: “Shes feeding them. Soon she could be fed to them”

An Asda spokesman said the retailer was concerned at the advertisements but had not threatened to withdraw its use of the mark of distinction.

However, the claim was rejected by Yorkshire producer John Rowbottom, a board member of the British Pig Industry Executive.

Mr Rowbottom said he suspected that Asda had threatened to remove the mark of distinction so consumers wont be able to tell the origin of any pork.