5 January 2000
Brown admits pig men have problems
By Mike Stones
AGRICULTURE minister Nick Brown has admitted that there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel for the UKs troubled pig industry.
Under fierce attack at the Oxford Farming Conference, Mr Brown was asked by one producer: “Why are you so determined to destroy the UK pig industry?”
Another farmer, John Parker from Nottinghamshire, asked why producers should join assurance schemes when the pig industry was treated so badly.
Mr Brown sympathised with pig producers, who he said had “an astonishingly good case”. But he denied the possibility of granting pig farmers cash aid.
“I cant put cash injections into the [pig] industry, our European partners dont do it and I cant either.”
Mr Brown said he had urged government ministries, departments and authorities to support British farmers by buying British pigmeat.
Major retailers had agreed to buy pigmeat for their own-brand products from production systems which did not use meat and bonemeal or stalls and tethers.
But the long-term solution to the UK pig crisis lay in clear labelling which allowed producers to claim premium prices for their premium products.
“If people want animal welfare they should assert that through their choice as consumers,” said Mr Brown.