18 November 1999
Pig men fight on for compensation

By Farmers Weekly staff

PIG industry leaders are determined to continue to fight for government compensation for BSE-related charges that have added more than £5 a pig to their production costs.

Stewart Houston, chairman of the National Pig Association Producers Group, told a meeting in Perth on Wednesday that legal action was still an option although seeking judicial review was likely to cost about £100,000.

He told the 100 or so farmers – about half of the pig producers left in Scotland – that efforts were continuing to persuade Brussels that government compensation should not be viewed as an illegal state aid.

But BSE-related costs were small in comparison to the loss of the premium, worth about £10 a pig, that British Pigmeat achieved this summer over its EU competitors.

That had to be regained, he said.

“Supermarkets no longer respond to direct action, so we have to try to get to them through consumers,” Mr Houston said.

Those still in pig production were becoming tired and depressed, so it was more difficult to find volunteers to help with things like supermarket surveys.

“But it is absolutely vital. We are undertaking our third survey in six months and we need the information to prove to consumers that they are being conned by retailers,” he said.

Mick Sloyan, MLC pig strategy manager, saw little prospect of the price rising above 85p/kg.