Pig Producers Stage Downing Street Price Protest
another generation of farmers set to go bankrupt
March 4, 2008
By Jack Davies
HUNDREDS of farmers descended on Whitehall today (Tuesday, March 4) in a show of support for the country’s struggling pig producers.
Photo: The rally, organised by the National Pig Association (NPA), saw around 400 protesters gathered outside Downing Street calling for fairer prices for British pig farmers. (Farmers Guardian)
With farmers arriving in their droves from all over the country, the rally also saw a petition handed to the Prime Minister with over 13,000 signatures supporting the campaign.
BPEX chairman Stuart Houston said: “"We have reached crisis point. Without an increase, farmers stand to lose approximately £200 million in the next year and many face the prospect of going out of business.
“Then consumers will lose the choice to buy higher welfare Quality Standard Mark pork, bacon and ham.”
The rally saw support from members of the public as well as MPs who were invited to meet the farmers and discuss the industry’s problems.
The farmers claim that rocketing feed prices are destroying the industry, with cheap imports undercutting British reared pork, forcing thousands of farmers to quit the industry.
Slogans were chanted, and banners waved in the wind as the farmers braved the cold to get their message heard.
They were joined by industry leaders from around the country, calling on the Government to take action to ensure the industry’s future.
NFU Scotland’s pigs committee chairman, Robin Traquair said: “We are calling on MPs to recognise the precarious situation which Britain’s pigs producers are facing through no fault of their own.
“Government must understand that we cannot have it both ways: producing highest quality pork domestically and then undercutting it with imports produced to lower animal welfare and food safety standards.”
Former Tory MP Neil Hamilton also made an appearance, dressed in a ‘Pigs Are Worth It’ campaign t-shirt and showing his support for the farmers.
He said: “It does seem paradoxical that British farmers have to adhere to certain standards and yet pork which is imported comes from pigs that are not treated as well.
“But the long term answer is to get more people to buy pork and spend more money on it to ensure that this industry has a future.”
The rally was attended by a large contingent of young farmers, keen to show their support for the industry’s future.
Ben Leggett, a student at the Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester said: “The government have the power to encourage supermarkets to raise prices but they don’t appear to be too bothered by the state of British farming.
“If this continues you will see yet another generation of farmers go bankrupt and quit the industry and that is a real worry for the future of farming in the UK.”
Support has already gathered in Whitehall, after the aptly-named Richard Bacon MP tabled an early day motion today calling for higher prices for British pork and for the Government to wake up to the crisis in the industry.
Industry leaders are now calling on other MPs to support Mr Bacon and put pressure on supermarkets to raise prices and secure the industry’s future.
• Pig farmers from across the county have recorded a single as part of the campaign to raise awareness of their fight for fairer prices for their pigs.
Stand by your Ham is based on the Tammy Wynette 1968 classic Stand by your Man and was recorded in a London studio by a group of 30 farmers