13 May 1998
‘UK pig farmers farmers well-prepared for change’ — survey
By Boyd Champness
BRITISH pig farmers are well prepared for the forthcoming ban on stalls and tethers, which comes into effect from 1 January next year, according to a survey released today.
The survey, conducted by the National Farmers Union, reveals that only 10% of British pig farmers still use stalls and tethers to house their pigs.
The UK ban goes far wider than the proposed European Union regulation, which only plans to ban tethers from 2006. Stalls are still the most widely used housing system on the Continent.
Speaking at the pig and poultry fair at Stoneleigh today (Wednesday), NFU deputy president Tony Pexton said farmers were doing their bit for animal welfare and it was now up to the public to recognise this and support British pork.
The survey also revealed that 70% of UK pig farmers have signed up to farm assurance schemes and 10% add value to their enterprises through initiatives such as farm-cured bacon, rare-breed meats and prepared hog-roasts.
It also revealed that only one-third of UK pig farmers are confident about their futures, while two-thirds expressed doubts. The issues pig farmers fear most include the strength of Sterling, the attitude of the multiple retailers and the cost of welfare standards.
Most respondents said they would like to see the Government spend more money on promoting British pork, considering the UK is about to have the toughest welfare standards within the EU.
Pig farmers have also called on Government not to introduce any further unilateral legislation for the UK, and to ensure that welfare standards across Europe catch up with those here.