9 May 2000
Concrete block replaces Winnie
By FWi staff
PIG farmers have dumped two-and-a-half tonne concrete block containing a sow stall outside the Houses of Parliament.
The farmers left the concrete block after abandoning their three-month round-the-clock vigil in Parliament Square in the early hours of Tuesday (9 May).
They had attempted to embarrass the government into compensating producers for the cost of regulations imposed on the industry in the wake of the BSE crisis.
But the government resisted the pressure and the farmers have now removed their mascot, Winnie the pig, leaving the concrete block in her place.
Vigil organisers said they left the concrete sow stall to remind politicians and the public of the battle that British pig farmers are waging against imported pigmeat.
Many British farmers are unable to compete with foreign pigmeat, which is often produced from pigs kept in sow stalls – a practice which is banned in the UK.
Thousands of British producers have left the industry.
The situation has been exacerbated by the strong Pound, which has made British pigmeat hard to sell abroad.
Winnie, who became a media star during her stay in London, is now heading to the Pig and Poultry Fair, which begins at Stoneleigh on Wednesday (10 May).
During her time in the capital, Winnie attempted to stand for mayor, overcame police attempts to remove her and took evasive action during the May Day riots.
Organisers believe using a live pig to highlight their cause raised public awareness about the industrys plight and also put a smile on pig farmers faces.
But there is still a lot to do on the key issue of securing government help for the industrys future, they added.
A stainless-steel plaque left on the side of the concrete block in memory of the vigil said that although Winnie had gone, “she may be back”.