Pig business backs xenophobic ads

11 May 2000

Pig business backs ‘xenophobic’ ads

By FWi staff

BRITISH pig industry representatives have defended a controversial advertising campaign which has enraged Continental competitors.

Hard-hitting Meat and Livestock Commission advertisements imply British farmers produce the safest and most welfare friendly pigmeat

Newspaper advertisement which appeared on Thursday (11 May) say that abroad pigs are often reared in cramped quarters and fed on animal parts.

Shoppers are urged to choose pigmeat with the British Meat Quality Standard Mark to ensure they are not unwittingly supporting these regimes.

Furious Dutch and Danish competitors claim the adverts are inaccurate, inflammatory and could drive down all pigmeat sales.

They warned they may run counter-campaigns to highlight where their welfare records are better than Britains.

But a spokesman for the MLC rejected protests.

Far from discouraging consumers, the campaign would encourage sales by showing that pigs can be reared in welfare-friendly conditions, he insisted.

He said the MLC had responded to calls from British pig farmers for advertising which highlighted that their pigs are reared under welfare-friendly regimes.

Chairman of the National Pig Association, John Godfrey, welcomed the campaign: “Its upfront and strident and definitely gets the point across,” he said.

Mr Godfrey said while a few shoppers may be turned off by the hard-hitting style, research showed this was needed to get the message across to jaded consumers.

The MLC campaign, joint-funded by the ministry of agriculture and the British Pig Executive (BPEX), will last six months.

The provocative adverts will run for two days and will be followed by softer adverts in the next phase of the campaign, says the MLC.

A very positive promotion focusing on the Quality Standard Mark will end the campaign.

Meanwhile, BPEX manager Mick Sloyan has called on the industry to support a strategy he has devised on creating a better future.

The main elements are:

  • Reducing costs to competitive European level
  • Defending and adding value to the market by consumer and product segmentation
  • Developing market segmentation in key European markets and moving beyond UK dependence.

Speaking at the Pig and Poultry Fair at Stoneleigh, Warwickshire, Mr Sloyan said BPEX would ensure levy money was used effectively to achieve this.

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