14 May 2001
Pig man to stand for Parliament?
By Alistair Driver
PIG farmers are considering fielding their own candidate in the June 7 General Election to raise the profile of farming among politicians and the public.
Farming barely featured in the first week of the election debate, despite the huge impact of the foot-and-mouth crisis.
Some National Pig Association officials believe the only way to force the issues close to their heart on to the agenda may be to field their own candidate.
NPA regional manager Ian Campbell is the most likely candidate if the association decides to take the plunge.
It is not clear which constituency he would fight.
It is a hung parliament at the moment, he said, when asked if the NPA board and members were likely to go ahead with the plan.
It is still being decided if the cost of fielding a candidate would be justified in terms of the publicity the move would generate.
Pig farmers scored a huge public relations success with last years Parliament Square pig vigil starring Winnie the Pig which featured in the London mayoral elections.
The NPA would want a similar impact, even with Winnie unable to participate because of foot-and-mouth restrictions.
Mr Campbell said a decision was likely by the end of the week and insisted that, either way, the association wants to make an impact on the election debate.
We are really concerned that the Government has recently made some worrying statements about where agriculture is going, he said.
The experience of the pig industry shows what happens if the Government seeks more extensive methods that reduce efficiency, but does not support the industry.
The NPA is putting the finishing touches to its own election manifesto and will lobby candidates nationwide even it does not enter its own candidate.
- NPA lacks support from pig farmers, FWi, 25 April, 2000
- Campbell for Pig Association regions, FWi, 26 November, 1999
- Aid package angers pig men, FWi, 21 September, 1999