4 May 2000
Pig farmers consider ending vigil
By Alistair Driver
PIG farmers are deciding whether to abandon their vigil outside the House of Commons, during which they have called for government aid for their industry.
The farmers will use todays mayoral elections to decide how much longer it is worth staying.
Pig farmer Malcolm Baxter said a decision about how long to continue will be made soon. The vigil has been running since the beginning of February.
A big factor in the decision will be the impact on the public of the farmers mascot, Winnie the Pig, and her participation in the London mayoral elections.
Winnie is making a journey around London as a spoof candidate in the election in a bid to highlight the plight affecting pig farmers.
If the serious message behind the campaign is well received by the public, then the prospects of the vigil staying will increase, said Mr Baxter.
One London taxi-driver stopped his cab to voice his support for the farmers, before adding: “I thought all the pigs were inside Parliament.”
Mr Baxter said: “The response has been absolutely amazing.”
The farmers have met the candidates in the mayoral race to ask whether they will take on board Winnies “10-oink plan” in support of British pig producers.
Although Winnie is not an official candidate, her campaign team said that voters could add her name to the ballot paper and put a cross by it.