20 August 1998
Pig protesters to target meat factories
By FW reporters
PROTESTING pig producers are to target meat-processing factories and cutting plants which handle only imported pigmeat.
A series of mass demonstrations has been organised by the Yorkshire-based British Pig Industry Support Group, formed by a small group of grassroots pig farmers.
After last weeks demonstration at the Humber port of Immingham, the support group has decided on a policy of progressively moving its protest closer to individual supermarkets.
Next on the list after the cutting plants will be distribution depots, followed by individual supermarket outlets.
Stewart Houston, who called the producer crisis meeting which led to the formation of the grassroots support group, said he hoped it would not come to the stage where individual supermarkets were targeted.
There were indications, he added, that some retailers had changed their labelling policy to make British pork products more easily identified by consumers. Other retailers had also reviewed at least part of their procurement policy, he said.
The group will continue to assess which supermarket is using which products and will be hoping to persuade those at the lower end of the league table to look at their buying policies more closely.
A meeting is also being sought with John Morris, food and drink executive of the British Retail Consortium, to alleviate what the group calls “some of his misconceptions”.
Mr Morris suggested that “proper” pig farmers were embarrassed by the Immingham demonstration. The group is keen to correct that view.
The farmers want to impress on Mr Morris that the demonstration was staged by well over 1000 proper pig farmers concerned that they were being forced out of business by cheap pig meat imports.