07 April 1999
Pig producers accuse government of complacency
By Isabel Davies
PIG farmers are furious at the governments failure to act on the recommendations of a House of Commons report on the UK pig industry.
The report, by the agriculture select committee, accused ministers, retailers and the Meat and Livestock Commission of failing to back the British pig industry.
It concluded that British producers were unfairly disadvantaged by higher costs and tougher animal welfare controls than their European counterparts.
The report, submitted to ministers two months ago, urged the government to encourage caterers and retailers to source pigmeat produced to UK standards.
Responding to the report yesterday, the government rejected nearly all of the committees recommendations and claimed that it was unable to help producers.
Critics said the governments response was inadequate and showed a lack of commitment to an industry in crisis.
A spokesman for the British Pig Industry Support Group accused the government of saying it would support the pig sector so long as doing so took no effort.
“What makes us particularly angry is that we know that the government is serving up imported pigmeat in its own ministries,” he added.
The National Farmers Union described the governments response as complacent and urged for more to be done to help pig producers.
“We desperately need the government to grasp the depth of the crisis and to help in finding ways out of it.,” said NFU president Ben Gill.
Shadow Agriculture Minister Tim Yeo also took the opportunity to slam the governments response.
“It is time for Government to stop dithering and recognise their responsibilities to the UK pig industry,” he said.
“Unless they take urgent action, the future of the pig industry looks bleak.”