20 Years of NPA - what we've done for you!
18th Jan 2019 / By Zoe Davies
The NPA celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. During the last two momentous decades, we have seen the pig industry through considerable adversity and achieved many triumphs. To mark this significant milestone, we are running a series of articles on the website looking back at what we have achieved for our members at different points through our impressive history…
Six years ago this month, the partial sow stall ban finally came into force in the EU, but we were deeply concerned that it was not going to be implemented properly. After months of meetings and talks with EU Commission officials ahead of the ban, it was clear that many countries would not be ready.
Our pessimism proved to be well-founded as implementation was patchy at best, across the member states, including those who shipped thousands of tonnes of pork to the UK.
But we had a plan to hold those businesses who imported that pork to account.
Two years in the making, in January 2013 we launched the food business Wall of Fame. It was simple. Those companies who signed our Pork Pledge, they were only able to do so if they were only using pork reared in legal systems.
Those who didn’t, found themselves on the notorious Wall of Shame! In support Defra Minister David Heath wrote to the top 10 pork product manufacturers to ensure they were only buying pork reared legally and encouraged them to sign our pledge.
The initiative was endorsed by Prime Minister David Cameron and we received some great traction in the media. The result – more than 100 foodservice and retail companies signed up.
We didn’t let the Government off the hook either. As part of our Government procurement campaign, we wrote to all departments asking them what percentage of British pork they were sourcing through their canteens. Again, media coverage was excellent.
But that was not all… not only did the new legislation partially ban stalls, it also had implications for our own producers, the most significant of which concerned new limits on slat and slot width. Sparked by a conversation with Spanish producers about standard tolerance limits for pre-cast concrete slats, we sought out the BS EN standard, which was to be our savior.
Following much discussion with Defra, they agreed to seek advice from the Commission, which we carefully timed with other countries lobbying. The Commission agreed to allow the tolerance and we then persuaded Defra to agree to adopt the same approach to ensure there was no gold-plating.
All we ever wanted was a level playing field – and we fought hard to achieve it.