24 September 1998
Pig farmers want out of the MLC

By FWi staff

FARMERS have called for the complete removal of the statutory levy paid by pig producers to the Meat and Livestock Commission (MLC).

The MLC uses the levy to promote pigmeat consumption in the UK and abroad. But the MLC also promotes other meat in direction competition with pork.

Producers represented by the British Pig Industry Support Group claim the MLC is ineffective when it comes to promoting pigmeat.

The pig producers want the MLC levy abolished and a new and separate pig industry organisation, responsible for the advertising and promotion of pigmeat, set up.

Stewart Houston, chairman of the British Pig Industry Support Group, said the new body should be a powerful joint lobby of producers and processors to deal with the pig industrys problems.

Mr Houston said the new body should be directly accountably to pig producers. It should also have the ability to promote domestically produced pigmeat using the word “British”.

Sow herd numbers in some European countries had increased by more than 16% between 1983 and 1996, said Mr Houston. But the UK sow herd had declined by 7.3% over the same period.

“In a country that is not self-sufficient in pigmeat, this is unacceptable,” Mr Houston said. “The structure of pig industry representation is fundamentally flawed.”