|Press releases 2012
April 29, 2013
April 8, 2013
February 11, 2013
January 23, 2013
January 22, 2013
December 31, 2012
December 20 2012
November 9 2012
October 26 2012
October 15 2012
September 20 2012
4 September 2012
Press releases 2011
British pig farmers need gentle and gradual growth to reduce Britain's import bill
May 3, 2013
Britain needs to see a 'gentle and gradual' renewal of its pig industry, leading to more efficient food production and a reduction in the nation's food import bill, says the National Pig Association.
It will also mean more environmentally-friendly farming, and it will help maintain the nation's reputation for being one of the world's highest-welfare pig producing countries.
Currently British farms produce only 40 percent of Britain's pork and pork products, the rest being imported from countries where pigs are generally produced more intensively.
NPA would like to see home-production gradually increase to 50 percent. But this can only happen if pig farmers have the confidence to replace older buildings, which are less efficient than their modern counterparts and are sometimes in unsuitable locations.
NPA is concerned that aggressive opposition to planning applications for new pig units is in danger of halting the pig sector's process of gentle and gradual renewal.
It is urging local residents who are concerned about any proposed development in their area to talk directly to the farmer concerned and then to trust their own judgement, rather than allow the views of pressure groups to be foisted upon them.
Unlike the key pig-producing countries on the continent, Britain has a low density of pigs, which British producers consider a prerequisite for healthy, high-welfare production.
With this in mind, NPA is critical of pressure groups that oppose applications for new pig units in this country by cherry-picking research carried out in pig-dense countries, and then claiming a relevance to Britain.
For instance, one pressure group has raised the spectre of MRSA bacteria spreading from pigs to people in Britain — but MRSA has not been detected in livestock in this country, because of the low density of pigs.
Pressure groups have also sought to represent plans for ordinary farm-scale pig buildings as "mega" developments.
"We understand that some people would like to see a return to smaller-scale subsistence farming and we respect their right to express this view," said Dr Zoe Davies, general manager of NPA. "And we understand some groups may feel a need to create alarm in order to raise funds, but we do ask that they refrain from misrepresenting modern commercial husbandry which has much to commend it in terms of economic viability, protection of the environment and animal welfare."
"Exercise Compliance" will
The British pig industry will this week start checking that pork from illegal European Union farms is not entering the British food chain.
Misplaced “mega farm” fears threatening British livestock production
April 22, 2013
Growing urbanisation of the British countryside is threatening national food production, says the National Pig Association. It is particularly concerned that even planning applications for traditional part-time pig units are now meeting with opposition.
Britain already imports around 60 percent of its pork and pork products — usually from less welfare-friendly farms — and this figure is set to rise unless farmers are encouraged to invest in new more efficient and environmentally-friendly buildings.
NPA has identified a growing trend for vegan groups and other single-interest lobby groups to become involved in planning applications, using misinformation to frighten local residents into opposing new and replacement pig farms.
“In the past, pig farmers who wanted to build a new pig unit, usually to replace inefficient old buildings, could work constructively with local residents to address any concerns they might have,” said NPA general manager Dr Zoe Davies.
“But now they are being targeted by aggressive single-issue organisations with no local connections. We have even heard of pig farmers who have received threatening phone calls and emails from the other side of the world, accusing them of being ‘factory farmers’, which they most certainly are not.”
One of the problems, according to NPA, is that since the attempt to build a US-style “super dairy” at Nocton in Lincolnshire three years ago, vegan groups have pounced on all proposed livestock housing developments, describing them as “mega farms” and “factory farms”.
There are no “mega” pig farms in Britain and no applications to build any, says NPA. Most pig applications are for modest-sized pig units which will be part of a traditional mixed farm, where the pigs eat the grain grown on the farm and provide organic manure for the crops, in place of chemical fertilisers.
Even applications for larger pig units which will operate as stand-alone businesses bear no comparison to the large pig units being constructed in the United States, says NPA. And unlike most of Europe’s key pig-producing countries, Britain has a very small pig population, so the problem of local pig density does not arise.
So concerned is NPA about the growing opposition to new and replacement pig units, it intends to produce a leaflet for planning authorities and local residents, putting the size of new developments in perspective.
It will point out, for example, that a building for 1,500 finisher pigs falls far short of being a “mega farm”, being a modest venture that will not provide a living income on its own, but will add a small extra income to a farm business that might otherwise struggle to be sustainable.
In contrast the average commercial finisher unit in, say, the United States will have 12 or more such buildings.
And in the States most pigs are born on breeding units housing 5,000-10,000 sows — more than double even the largest breeding units in Britain and more than ten times the size of an average British breeding unit.
“I would urge all planning authorities to recognise that investment in farming is essential to keep the countryside alive,” said NPA chairman Richard Longthorp.
“And people who live in villages but drive into towns and cities every day to work, should consider the needs of those who work in the rural economy and who keep the countryside alive whilst they are away during the day.
“They should remember that pig farms employ a huge number of people indirectly, including hauliers, millers, meat plants, electricians, plumbers and builders.”
NPA contends that for many people, a modern pig unit makes a far better neighbour than, say, a new housing estate. New pig buildings are far more neighbour-friendly than the older buildings they replace, being quieter and usually screened. And smell is far less of a problem these days, and with sensitive management can be eliminated altogether.
April 8, 2013
Nominations sought for pig industry 'extra-miler'
National Pig Association is seeking nominations for its Chris Brant Award which annually recognises someone who has contributed beyond the call of duty to the British pig industry.
"We will be looking for someone who consistently goes the extra mile on behalf of the industry, without thought of direct personal reward," said NPA chairman and award sponsor Richard Longthorp, who farms near Howden, in East Yorkshire. Nominations can be made via the NPA website at npa-uk.org.uk.
The award was renamed in 2009 in recognition of Yorkshire pig producer Chris Brant, who died in the summer of that year. Noisy, blunt, rambunctious and straight as a gun barrel, he never failed to step up to the mark when the industry needed his help.
This year's judges will be Richard Longthorp, last year's winner Peter Crichton, and Oxfordshire pig producer Sally Stockings. Last year's winner was Bury St Edmunds independent adviser and valuer Peter Crichton, who was chosen for his compassion and kindness when helping pig producers in difficulty.
Many of the past winners of the Chris Brant Award have been associated with direct action organisation the British Pig Industry Support Group, including Burton on Trent consultant Nick White, Berkshire ventilation specialist Hugh Crabtree, Yorkshire pig producers Fred Henley and John Rowbottom and Yorkshire feed adviser John Cusson.
The award will be presented at NPA's Summer Event in June, which this year will be held at Peterborough.
April 5, 2013
Britain's leading food companies pledge total
National Pig Association's Wall of Fame has reached a milestone this month, with one hundred leading brands pledging total traceability for the imported pork and pork products they sell.
"The response to our campaign for traceable higher-welfare pork for British consumers has been outstanding — far, far better than we ever envisaged," said NPA chairman Richard Longthorp.
NPA called on Britain's major food companies, including retailers, to check their supply lines forensically, and to boycott all pork and pork products from illegally-operated continental farms.
According to recent data from Brussels, over 60 percent of European Union countries are failing to comply with new animal welfare rules and pregnant sows are still being confined in narrow individual cages known as "stalls" for most of their lives.
"The response was slow to start with but then 'Horsegate' erupted and food companies suddenly realised how vital it is that they know exactly where the raw materials they import come from," said NPA general manager Dr Zoe Davies.
"It is clear from the responses we have had that these companies have taken our challenge very seriously and on behalf of British consumers we thank them for their responsible stance."
NPA is confident that the pledges on its Wall of Fame at www.npa-uk.org.uk have helped reduce the flow of pork from illegally-operated farms. It is now calling on all European countries to clean up their act and comply with European Union welfare legislation.
"British consumers can be confident that most of the pork and pork products on British supermarket shelves is traceable and is produced to the high welfare standards they expect," said Richard Longthorp. "British pig farmers have, of course, exceeded European welfare requirements for many years, and British pork is traceable back to its farm of origin."
"We will continue to accept pledges for our Wall of Fame and will shortly start to conduct supply-line audits to check the pledges are being honoured. But overall we are extremely satisfied with the progress that has been made so far."
At the beginning of the year NPA estimated as many as 40,000 pigs an hour were being delivered to continental processing plants from illegally-operated pig farms. As Britain imports around 60 percent of its processed pork it was feared that many British consumers were unwittingly supporting the trade in illegally-farmed pigs.
February 11, 2013
Do they ever ask WHY 'euromeat' is so cheap?
Supermarket greed is to blame for the Horsegate scandal but it's decent, law-abiding British farmers who are suffering as a result, says Britain's National Pig Association.
The fear of eating contaminated beef has sent shockwaves down the High Street, causing shoppers to be wary of all meat. "The only safe option is to buy British meat, and only British meat," says NPA.
Supermarkets habitually drive meat prices down to well below cost of production. "Where on earth do they think this cheap euromeat is coming from?" demands NPA chairman Richard Longthorp. "If you consistently buy something below the price at which it can be produced, you must know that corners have been cut in quality, or safety, or legality, or all three."
NPA says that although the large supermarkets have only themselves to blame for the current lack of customer trust in the meat products on their shelves, it is British farmers who are suffering most.
"Even though cheap imported europork hasn't been implicated in the Horsegate scandal, the price that British pig farmers get for their safe, high-quality product plummeted by an unprecedented 3p a kilo on Friday," said NPA general manager Dr Zoe Davies.
"Our pig farmers are already making a loss as supermarkets import increasing quantities of cheap pork from the continent and for some this latest blow may well be the straw that breaks the camel's back."
British pig farmers produce safe, high-quality food which is then processed and packed by heavily-regulated British food companies, says NPA. "But that's not good enough for some of our largest retailers. They have to buy cheap-cheap-cheap, and that is what has landed the High Street in its current fear and confusion."
Over 90 percent of British pork is independently audited through the Red Tractor assurance scheme along its entire production process, from the feed that the pigs eat, to the way they are housed and cared for, to the way they are electronically-tracked to meat plants, and to the way the meat is processed, packed and labeled.
"Shoppers can no longer trust many supermarkets but they can trust British meat. They should buy British, and only British," says NPA.
January 23, 2013
Food manufacturers challenged over illegal imports
British pig farmers are challenging food manufacturers, retailers and caterers to give a public commitment that they are not selling illegally-produced meat from farms that are flouting new European welfare legislation outlawing the prolonged confinement of sows in individual cages, known as "stalls".
They have set up a website Wall-of-Fame-and-Shame which will list companies that have pledged to source imported pork products only from farms that are operating legally.
All companies selling imported pork and pork products are being urged by Britain's National Pig Association (NPA) to check their sources of supply very carefully.
"They must be absolutely certain the bacon, sausages, ham, pizzas and other processed pork they sell do not come from farms that are flouting European animal welfare law," says NPA.
Most European Union countries have failed to comply with the European Union's animal welfare directive which from January 2013 bans the prolonged confinement of sows in stalls. Individual sow stalls have been outlawed on British pig units for 14 years. They are so narrow, pigs cannot turn around — all they can do is sit, stand, and lie down.
As many as 40,000 pigs an hour are being delivered to continental processing plants from illegally-operated pig farms, according to NPA calculations.
"As Britain imports around 60 percent of its processed pork it is inevitable that many consumers are unwittingly supporting this unacceptable European trade in illegally-farmed pigs," said NPA general manager Dr Zoe Davies. "Shoppers must be told which British retailers and food companies they can trust not to take part in this trade."
Yorkshire pig farmer John Rowbottom, a member of NPA's policy-making Producer Group, said: "If Brussels cannot police its own rules, then British pig farmers will have to do the job for them. British consumers are being sold pork products from continental farms that are operating illegally.
"It's a gross breach of animal welfare, it is unfair on consumers and it is unfair on British farmers, because it distorts fair trade."
January 22, 2013
Evidence secures big savings for pig industry
The Farm Energy Centre (FEC) working on behalf of the NPA have agreed New Climate Change Levy (CCL) targets with the Government which will save the pig industry an estimated £18.5 million over the next 10 years.
December 31, 2012
Europe's pig-keepers flout Brussels stalls ban
From tomorrow up to 40 percent of European Union pigs will come from farms that are flouting animal welfare rules. To avoid this trade in illegally-farmed pigs, British shoppers should look for the British independent Red Tractor logo, says Britain's National Pig Association (NPA).
According to NPA calculations, around 40,000 pigs an hour will be delivered to continental processing plants from farms that are breaking welfare rules. The pigs will come from continental farms where sows are confined in individual metal cages known as 'stalls', which is outlawed by European Union animal welfare legislation from January 1 2013.
Prompted by NPA, the European Commission health and consumer department has called European Union member countries to a meeting on January 28 to discuss the crisis. And in Britain, farm minister David Heath has scheduled a meeting for February 6 to assess the level of civil disobedience taking place on continental pig farms.
Stalls have not been used in the United Kingdom for many years but figures released by Brussels this month show that 80 percent of European Union countries have not yet complied with the ban.
The data shows France was only 33 percent compliant with the European stalls ban, Germany only 48 percent and Ireland only 57 percent. Other countries unlikely to hit the deadline include Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain.
At its meeting this month, the European Commission is expected to claim the picture is not as bleak as the statistics suggest, because from January member countries will be able to start taking enforcement action.
NPA says some European countries will strictly enforce the stalls ban but others simply don't have the necessary infrastructure to identify law-breaking farms, so Europe is going to have a significant law-breaking problem for some time to come.
"We have been pressuring Brussels for more than a year to take measures to protect European consumers from illegally produced pigmeat. Its stock response has always been that it could do nothing until January 1, 2013. Well that date is now upon us and it needs to act urgently to have any chance of keeping its integrity intact," said NPA chairman Richard Longthorp.
December 20 2012
40,000 pigs AN HOUR from Europe's illegally-run farms
Around 40,000 'illegal' pigs an hour will be entering the European food chain in January and bacon, ham and pizzas containing their meat is destined for Britain's supermarkets, corner shops and restaurants.
The pigs will come from continental farms where sows are still confined in individual steel cages known as 'stalls' — a practice outlawed by European Union animal welfare legislation from 1 January 2013.
Stalls have not been used in the United Kingdom for many years, but figures released by Brussels this month show that with the continental ban only days away, 80 percent of European Union countries have not yet complied with the ban.
Even allowing for a last minute rush to remove sows from stalls and house them in new group pens, this indicates that nearly two million pigs a week from farms operating illegally will be delivered to Europe's processing plants, according to Britain's National Pig Association.
'It makes a mockery of Europe's animal welfare legislation,' says NPA chairman Richard Longthorp. 'As the United Kingdom imports around 60 percent of its pork — much of it as processed food such as ham and bacon — shoppers will need to be very careful about what they choose from supermarket shelves and when eating out in restaurants.'
NPA is urging British shoppers who care about animal welfare not to buy imported pork or processed pork products such as bacon, until all European Union member countries have complied with the stalls ban.
'The major British supermarkets have promised they will not sell pork from continental farms operating illegally but our concern is that in many cases these farms will be difficult to identify and everybody admits that imported processed foods will be almost impossible to trace,' said NPA general manager Dr Zoe Davies.
'Our advice to shoppers is always to look for the independent Red Tractor logo on the pack, which is an absolute guarantee that the product comes from a British pig farm where keeping sows in stalls has been banned for over a decade.'
The data published by Brussels this month shows France is only 33 percent compliant with the European stalls ban, Germany only 48 percent and Ireland only 57 percent. Other countries unable to hit the January 2013 deadline include Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain.
November 9 2012
Tesco direct contracts mark a watershed for British pig farmers
Tesco's planned Sustainable Farming Group for Pigs could mark a watershed in the fortunes of the British pig industry, says the National Pig Association.
"British pig-keepers have been plagued by short-term supply chains and volatile costs, which have prevented them from investing for the future," said general manager Dr Zoe Davies.
"The new direct supply contracts announced by Tesco should be available for around 140 pig-keepers early next year, and in NPA's view could help transform British pig production."
NPA has worked closely with Tesco on the new supply contracts and sees them introducing an unprecedented level of transparency in the supply chain for high welfare, independently-audited British pork.
It has commended Tesco's vision in introducing radical new supply policies at a challenging time in the British High Street, and plans to continue working closely with the nation's largest retailer on the initiative.
The new Tesco whole-carcase supply group will be administered by a farmer-led committee which will review prices every month, taking into account the impact of feed costs on cost of production.
"This transparency and the direct linking of pig price to increasingly volatile costs should bring benefits to the whole chain through fairer sharing of risk and reward," said NPA chairman Richard Longthorp.
NPA is working with Tesco to publicise the new supply group, so that producers have an opportunity to express an interest in being considered for the group.
October 26 2012
Shoppers support Red Tractor logo
It comes as no surprise that shoppers are in uproar over Sainsbury's decision to stop using the British Red Tractor logo on its own-brand bacon and pork packaging, says the National Pig Association.
It's decision will confuse customers and blur the distinction between imported meat and ethically-produced British bacon and pork, says NPA.
In it's Save Our Bacon campaign, which has grabbed headlines not only in Britain but around the world, NPA urges shoppers to look for the well-known Red Tractor logo.
'They won't find it in Sainsbury's any more but they will in all the other major supermarkets including Tesco and Asda, which continue to support British farming,' says NPA.
Shoppers have used Facebook and Twitter to condemn Sainsbury's for dropping the Red Tractor logo, which is the instantly-recognised symbol showing a product has been farmed in Britain, to Britain's higher ethical standards.
'The Red Tractor scheme is unique in the world and British farmers are very proud of it,' said NPA chairman Richard Longthorp.
'We are on a journey of continuous improvement in professionalism and animal welfare and we would much prefer Sainsbury's showed support for British farming by joining us on that journey, as the other major retailers are doing.'
October 15 2012
Cameron joins campaign to save British Bacon
Prime Minister David Cameron and Home Secretary Theresa May, along with scores of MPs and MEPs, have pledged their support for British pig farmers' Save Our Bacon campaign, which has attracted media coverage around the world.
The nation's pig farmers are urging shoppers to save British bacon for future generations by looking for the independent Red Tractor logo when shopping, as this proves the meat comes from British farms, which have higher welfare standards than many foreign pig farms.
'I am delighted to be able to support the Save Our Bacon campaign,' said Prime Minister David Cameron in a message of support to the industry.
And Home Secretary Theresa May said in her message, 'British pig farms can be rightfully proud of the high quality and high welfare pork and pork products they produce. Ministers welcome the chance to encourage people to support these standards and buy pig products endorsed with the Red Tractor logo.'
Britain's pig farmers are asking for the public's support because harvest failure around the world has caused the cost of pig feed to soar. Feed wheat, a key ingredient, has increased over 30 percent since the beginning of the year and soya has increased over 65 percent.
As feed accounts for 65 percent of the cost of raising a bacon pig, this has plunged Britain's pig producers into loss, and it is feared production could be down by as much as ten percent by Christmas.
'Pig farmers don't have the benefit of European subsidies,' said pig producer Richard Longthorp, chairman of National Pig Association which is running the Save Our Bacon campaign.
'So we can only survive these exceptional costs if the large supermarkets choose to pay us a fair price as a matter of urgency — and for that to happen we need shoppers to make a special effort to demonstrate their support for high welfare British bacon, sausages and pork.'
In his message of support, David Cameron says, 'I am keenly aware of the problems currently affecting pig producers largely because of the increase in grain prices over the last few months.
'I welcome the chance to encourage people to support and buy the high quality and high welfare British pork products, which are endorsed with the Red Tractor logo.' And Theresa May says that whilst Government cannot set the prices that farmers receive, 'we welcome the Save Our Bacon campaign'.
Other government figures who have publicly pledged their support for National Pig Association's Save Our Bacon campaign include natural environment minister Richard Benyon, health minister Anna Soubry, culture minister Ed Vaizey, Scotland minister David Mundell and local government minister Eric Pickles.
'We asked our members to contact their MPs about the campaign and the response has been quite remarkable,' said National Pig Association general manager Dr Zoe Davies.
'At a time when many pig producers simply don't know if they can hang on until they get a fair price to cover their increased costs of production, the support of so many leading figures in British politics has been an incredible boost to their morale.'
Pig farmers around the world are being forced to quit production because they can no longer afford to feed their pigs. The National Pig Association has repeatedly warned that a global shortage of pigs next year will drive up the price of bacon and pork.
But if British producers can persuade supermarkets to pay a fair price now, more British pig farmers will be able to stay in production, which will reduce the impact on British shoppers and ensure there is a plentiful supply of British bacon for future generations.
September 20 2012
Europe's pork and bacon supply is contracting fast
A world shortage of pork and bacon next year is now unavoidable, says Britain's National Pig Association. But British supermarkets can protect consumers from shortages and steep price rises if they pay Britain's loss-making pig farmers a fair price, to help them remain in production.
New data shows the European Union pig herd is declining at a significant rate, and this is a trend that is being mirrored around the world. Pig farmers have been plunged into loss by high pig-feed costs, caused by the global failure of maize and soya harvests.
All main European pig-producing countries report shrinking sow herds. Falling numbers in the 12 months to June 2012 have been reported by Denmark (-2.3), Germany (-1.3), Ireland (-6.6), Spain (-2.8), France (-3.2), Italy (-13), Hungary (-5), the Netherlands (-3.6), Austria (-2.8), Poland (-9.6) and Sweden (-7.2).
In its Save Our Bacon campaign, NPA is asking shoppers to make a point of selecting pork and bacon with the British independent Red Tractor logo, as an increase in demand for British product now may help persuade supermarkets to act before it is too late.
Sainsbury's has increased the price it pays to a few of its pig farmer suppliers and NPA has welcomed this gesture. But it says the major supermarkets need to do much more, if they want to protect their customers from shortages and high prices next year.
British Pig Executive Mick Sloyan warned a private meeting of British and mainland Europe retailers at a Brussels summit yesterday that a fall of only 2 percent in slaughterings next year will cause prices to rise by 10 percent.
NPA believes slaughterings could fall by as much as 10 percent in the second half of next year, which indicates a doubling of the price of European pork and pork products. "If supermarkets act now, they can prevent this happening," says NPA.
September 7 2012
Worldwide pork shortage predicted
The world’s pig farmers are warning of a shortage of bacon and pork next year because pig-feed has become unaffordable following disastrous growing and harvesting weather. Governments are becoming increasingly concerned.
British shoppers are being urged to make a special effort to safeguard supplies of British bacon and pork by only buying packs carrying British farming's own Red Tractor logo.
Around the world, pig farmers are selling their herds because they can no longer afford to feed their pigs. In the United States the government has introduced a pork-buying programme in a bid to keep its pig farmers in business. And the Chinese government is putting pork into cold storage, as a buffer against shortages and high prices next year.
Pig industry leaders from across the European Union met in London on Friday to explore ways to ensure pork remains the world’s most affordable red meat. They reported that pig herds are being sold because prices are not rising fast enough in supermarkets to cover the cost of record-high pig-feed costs.
'It usually takes at least six months for higher production costs to filter through to shop prices — but pig farmers simply haven't got that long,' said National Pig Association chairman Richard Longthorp, who farms outdoor pigs in Yorkshire. 'Some have got only a few weeks left before they run out of credit at the bank and have to sell up, and this is happening all over Europe.'
Britain's pig farmers are asking shoppers to help save British pork and bacon, which is widely acclaimed for its taste and quality, by always looking for the British Red Tractor logo.
‘Some forecasters believe the price will increase by over a third eventually. But we would rather see a more immediate, modest but sustainable rise that would allow producers to get into profit sooner thereby preventing the wholesale reduction in the pig herd with the inevitable record prices that would follow.
August 17 2012
Ten things you didn't know about British bacon
August 8 2012
Only British shoppers can put the sizzle back in British bacon
British shoppers are being urged to support the nation's family farms in the same remarkable way they have supported Team GB over the past week.
"They have the power to save British bacon for future generations if they check it is British rather than imported when they are shopping," said Dr Zoe Davies, who represents the nation's pig farmers. "Please make an extra special effort over the next few weeks to look for the British Red Tractor logo."
British pork and bacon has already had an important boost from the London Olympics organising committee, which insists that all pork and bacon served at the Games is Red Tractor accredited.
But so far this week three more pig farmers have announced they are selling their herds because of mounting losses. This means a weekly loss of 63,000 rashers of British bacon, 95,000 sausages and 10,000 pork pies — just from these three farms.
Failing harvests of wheat, maize and soya around the world have caused a shortage of pig feed, driving up the cost of feeding Britain's pig herds to an unprecedented level.
"If supermarkets see a surge in demand for British product, it will persuade them to pay our farmers the few extra pennies a kilo more they need to cover their soaring feed bills," said Zoe Davies, who is general manager of the National Pig Association.
"Shoppers have always been incredibly loyal to British pig farmers in the past so we're asking them to please be extra careful to look for the British Red Tractor logo on bacon, and also on sausages, and fresh pork."
Bacon is Britain's favourite food, according to the Top 100 Foods Index — but it is under threat because farmers are losing around £10 on every pig they sell. Unless supermarkets ensure they receive around 10p a kilo more, many will not be able to survive until feed costs return to more normal levels.
According to a National Pig Association survey of members, pig farmers representing ten percent of the nation's pig supply will have to stop production over the next six months because they cannot afford to feed their pigs — unless retailers, which sell 86 percent of all British bacon, pay them a bit more.
August 1 2012
Shoppers urged to help save Britain's favourite food
Bacon is Britain's favourite food, according to the Top 100 Foods Index — but it is under threat. 1.5m rashers of British bacon a week look likely to disappear from supermarket shelves. Also in danger of disappearing are 2.3m sausages a week, another high-scoring favourite in the Top 100 Foods Index.
The culprit is poor crop growing weather around the world, making pig feed too expensive for British farmers to afford. In a bid to save the situation, British pig farmers, who are recognised as world leaders in higher welfare pig farming, are asking shoppers to make a special effort to support them over the exceptional few months ahead
"If supermarkets see a surge in demand for British product, they may be persuaded to pay our farmers the few extra pennies a kilo more they need to cover their soaring feed bills," said National Pig Association general manager Dr Zoe Davies. "So we are asking shoppers, who have always been incredibly loyal in the past, to please be extra careful to look for the British Red Tractor logo on bacon, sausages, and pork."
The National Pig Association acknowledges that empty spaces on supermarket shelves could be filled with imported bacon and sausages, but these would not be produced to British welfare standards. In any case European pork products will soon be in shorter supply too, as the European Commission expects European pig production to shrink next year.
The problem for British pig farmers is that the cost of pig feed ingredients such as wheat and soya has increased over 25 percent in recent weeks as a result of poor crop-growing conditions, particularly in the United States.
At the same time, intense high street rivalry is making supermarkets reluctant to pay farmers more to cover their extra costs of production.
In a survey just completed by the National Pig Association, pig farmers representing ten percent of Britain's weekly pig production say if they don't see a fair price between now and Christmas they will have no option but to stop production — because they cannot afford to feed their animals.
In addition to the loss of 1.5m British bacon rashers and 2.3m British sausages a week, this will mean...
Over the next few weeks, British pig farmers need to persuade all actors in the pork supply chain to work together towards a producer price that reflects the recent rises in feed prices.