21 October 1998
Morley pledges support for pig farmers
By Vicky Houchin
JUNIOR agriculture minister Elliot Morley has pledged his support for pig farmers who want supermarkets to stock UK-produced pigmeat.
Mr Morley told pig industry leaders and politicians this morning (Wednesday) that he believed supermarkets should recognise the efforts of UK farmers to produce welfare-friendly pigmeat.
“We must recognise that producers have responded to what consumers wanted on welfare conditions,” Mr Morley said.
Pig producers claim they are being driven out of business by some supermarkets who persist in importing cheap pigmeat produced under conditions that would soon be illegal in the UK.
Mr Morley said retailers who consistently demand high-quality produce should pay more for better-quality UK pigmeat, and help farmers out of the most viscous down-cycle in memory.
“What farmers have asked for is not subsidies but a level playing field, and their fair share of the market,” said Mr Morley.
“Nationally, we are bending backwards for the industry. We must emphasise to the public the high standards the British pork industry reaches.”
Mr Morley said he was confident that an ongoing promotional campaign by the Meat and Livestock Commission was helping reduce the amount of imported pigmeat.
Don Curry, MLC chairman, said he was using every technique within his grasp to hammer home competitive advantage. Support from retailers and the catering sector was increasing, he said.
MPs at todays meeting were given contact details of major pigmeat buyers in their constituency and urged to encourage local companies and councils to purchase UK pork.