Pig protesters throw lot in with NPA

10 August 2000

Pig protesters throw lot in with NPA

By Alastair Driver

THE chairman of the British Pig Industry Support Group has announced that he is to stand for election to the National Pig Association.

The decision by Matthew Atkin effectively brings the curtain down on the outspoken protest organisation.

Mr Atkin said BPISG had fulfilled the function it needed to perform when it was founded at the onset of the pig price crisis in August 1998.

The loosely formed body gained huge industry support in its fight to raise UK prices and get a fair deal from government.

It employed methods — such as blocking ports, closing supermarket depots and taking MAFF to court — beyond the scope of more formal bodies.

But now we need a single voice for the industry to present a unified approach to government, Mr Atkin said.

Other BPISG campaigners are also standing for election.

They include Malcolm Baxter, who made Winnie the Pig a star earlier this year, John Rowbottom, Robert Persey, Richard Longthorp and Robert Lassiter.

In a bid to attract more members prior to the elections the NPA has temporarily cut membership prices to 50 +VAT.

It has also been criticised for not being representative, particularly for failing to back BPISGs unsuccessful legal battle with MAFF.

But Mr Atkin said it is now time for farmers who have been unhappy with the NPAs performance to forget the past and forge their own future.

Anyone who does not take up the offer of cheap membership and either stand themselves or vote for the people they want to run the NPA can no longer complain that they are not being represented, he said.

In the first NPA election sixteen people will be voted on to the producer group, with places allocated between the regions of Britain to reflect pig production.

Elections will then take place every three years.

BPISG spokesman Digby Scott said he expects they will produce a mix of existing NPA members and some new faces on the board.

By using the NPAs democratic process, BPISG is effectively decommissioning their weapons, taking a step into the middle ground and voluntarily throwing their lot in with NPA, said.

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