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David Owers makes Brexit case for pig farmers in TV appearance

26th Sep 2016 / By Alistair Driver

Lincolnshire pig farmer and NPA member David Owers made an excellent case for the UK pig industry’s voice to be heard in Brexit negotiations in a television appearance on Sunday.

Owers bbcDavid appeared on the BBC East Midlands version of the Sunday Politics show in a five-minute segment on the potential impact of Brexit on the pig sector. You can see his appearance here (51-56 minutes) while it is available.

As the interviewer admired the ‘very high welfare standards’ of his deep-straw bedding, the Lincolnshire farmer voiced the concerns felt by many in the industry about the potential threat posed by post-Brexit cheap, lower welfare pigmeat imports.

David, using his appearance to highlight an apparent allegiance to Leicester Tigers rugby club as well as to the British pig industry, said:

“We have production systems in place other countries don’t have. You won’t see straw like this on any other country in the world.”

He highlighted the short-term price boost generated by the impact of Brexit on exchange rates but warned of the long-term trade risks.

Big worry

“The big worry is how the Government negotiates the tariffs really. If they have free trade with Brazil, (other countries in) South America and Canada you would wipe the British pig industry out overnight.

“At the moment there is a 45p/kg tariff on pigmeat imported into the EU. If that went then we would be open to really low welfare from the rest of the world.”

The segment also made reference to the NPA’s call for support to update farm buildings.

David’s appearance was followed by a political debate in which regional politicians stressed their desire to ensure farmers’ interests are taken into account in Brexit negotiations and highlighted the importance of protecting the ‘critical’ food industry.