Pig farmers descend on Westminster
PIG farmers have descended on Westminster this morning (Thursday, March 3) demanding a fair price for British pork, warning the industry will face a mass exodus should its fortunes not improve.
With rising cereal prices and increased fuel costs, farmers are losing money on every pig they produce.
Unless urgent action is taken to secure a better price from retailers, many could simply quit the industry as their bottom line continues to take a hit, the industry warned.
It comes as the NPA took its ‘Sign our Sausage’ campaign to Westminster calling on MPs and members of the public to back their calls for fair prices.
Stewart Houston, chairman of the NPA said the key was to encourage consumers to demand British from retailers such as Tesco and Asda.
He said: “We would like consumers to help us by buying more British pigmeat. We are not asking for Government support – we are calling for a fair price from national retailers.”
MP Richard Bacon told gathered MPs the Government had made progress by getting retailers to sign up to a voluntary labelling initiative, but said concrete legislation was needed to ensure a better future for producers.
In particular he highlighted Morrison’s commitment to the supply chain, and urged Tesco and Asda to follow suit in selling British produce rather than relying on cheap imports, produced under far less stringent animal welfare conditions.
“We should be saying to the public, if you want to buy sausages, don’t buy them from Tesco, buy them from Morrisons.
“If the public knew Asda and Tesco were putting products on their shelves produced in sub-standard conditions they would not buy from them.”
Defra Secretary Caroline Spelman agreed, saying consumers would be ‘horrified’ by the conditions on some European pig farms exporting to the UK.
She said it was vital retailers recognised the increased costs of production in the UK and supported the industry in producing high welfare, safe food.