Campaign for fairer prices for pig farmers

PUBLISHED: 12:04 07 March 2008 | UPDATED: 08:22 02 June 2010

Malcolm Moss with 'Winnie the Pig'

Malcolm Moss with 'Winnie the Pig'

FENS MP Malcolm Moss joined hundreds of pig farmers from across the country yesterday and veteran campaigner Winnie the Pig to call for fairer prices for pig farmers. Mr Moss, the MP for NE Cambs, has signed an Early Day Motion expressing concern that

FENS MP Malcolm Moss joined hundreds of pig farmers from across the country yesterday and veteran campaigner 'Winnie the Pig' to call for fairer prices for pig farmers.

Mr Moss, the MP for NE Cambs, has signed an Early Day Motion expressing concern that , "pig farmers are losing more than £20 on every animal raised, posing a serious threat to the future of British pig production"

The 'Pigs are worth it! Rally' aimed to secure support from MPs and Peers for fair prices for British pig farmers who have the highest animal welfare standards in the world. Mr Moss is writing to supermarket bosses and processors asking them to help ensure higher prices flow down the supply chain to farmers.

Consumers have said they are happy to pay more for high welfare pork to help farmers and over 13,000 have signed a petition presented to Downing Street.

Mr Moss said: "As wheat prices have doubled, feed prices have increased dramatically. This coupled with the costs of superior animal welfare in comparison with their European counterparts has left British Pig Farmers in a dire situation. "Supermarkets must help pig farmers to maintain their excellent animal welfare standards and ensure that this British industry is sustainable. I'm confident that the public will be happy to pay more for this top-quality product and the supermarkets must reflect this in their pricing".

British Pig Executive Chairman Stewart 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. Two-thirds of all imported produce would be illegal to produce in the UK as it doesn't meet our higher welfare standards."

1. The 'Pigs are worth it!' rally was organised by the National Pig Association, with the support of the British Pig Executive (BPEX) - visit the campaign website at www.pigsareworthit.com

2. Rise in Feed Prices - The dramatic increase in feed prices has been caused by a number of factors, principally the doubling of world wheat prices. This is due to poor harvests in many of the World's wheat producing regions, increased demand from China and India, and greater demand from the biofuels industry. Industry experts predict that high wheat prices will prevail for at least the next 12 months.

3. Quality Standard Mark - The UK has an independently audited quality assurance scheme for pig meat, which covers all aspects of production, including animal welfare. All pork, gammon, bacon, ham and sausages produced under this scheme carry the distinctive British Meat Quality Standard Mark (QSM) on pack. EU countries supplying the UK are not legally obliged to meet these UK minimum legal standards, as a result an estimated two thirds of all imports fail to do so.

4. Winnie The Pig - Winnie is now nine years old and lives on a farm in Oxfordshire. She is a veteran pig industry campaigner, having spend three months in Parliament Sq in 2000 and stood for London Mayor to highlight the issues facing pig farmers.

5. Text of Early Day Motion signed by Malcolm Moss MP

"That this House congratulates the British pig industry on its high production standards, on its continued commitment to animal welfare and on the provision of the best in pork, bacon and ham to consumers; notes with concern that high animal feed prices mean that pig farmers are losing more than £20 on every animal raised, posing a serious threat to the future of British pig production; notes that shoppers have said they are willing to pay more for high welfare British pork, and that 70% of imported pork has been produced under conditions that would be illegal in the UK; welcomes the National Pig Association and British Pig Executives' campaign - "Pigsareworthit.com" and calls on Government to help ensure that increases in retails prices flow down the supply chain to Britain's pig farmers."

6. Consumer support: A YouGov Survey of 2,000 consumers showed:

78% of people polled who buy pork and/or poultry products were prepare to pay a little more to cover rising production costs and support British Farmers.

Only 9% of those surveyed believed farmers are paid a fair price by major retailers

91% of people agreed that it is important for Britain to retain a strong agricultural sector .


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