British Pig Farmers today launched a £1.5m, national
advertising campaign in an attempt to save their industry
by winning a fairer price for their pigs.
The adverts, which will appear across national newspapers,
from Thursday 17 January, carry the line "Save a rare
breed from extinction. No we don't mean the pig."
pig industry is facing meltdown due to massive increases
in feed prices caused by rocketing world wheat prices,
which have led to price rises for other foods such as bread.
The majority of farmers are now selling every pig they
rear at a loss of up to more than £20. The industry
as a whole faces potential losses of £200 million
in the next year.
A campaign, started by the British Pig
Executive (BPEX) last year, has succeeded in persuading
supermarkets to begin to raise prices on a range or pork
and pork products. But little of this extra money has been
passed all the way down the chain to farmers. The aim of
the current advertising campaign is to help win a bigger
share for farmers.
Without an increased price many farms
will be forced to stop pig production altogether. A survey
by the National Pig Association showed that 95% of farmers
are considering stopping production if the price they receive
does not improve. This would lead to a shortage of pig
meat in the long term and potentially steep rises in the
retail price of pork, sausages, bacon and ham.
would also see reduced choice in high welfare products
as British farmers have amongst the highest welfare standards
in the World. EU countries supplying the UK are not legally
obliged to meet these UK minimum legal standards, as a
result an estimated 70% of all imports would be illegal
to produce in the UK.
The campaign calls on consumers to
support farmers by selecting pork and pork products that
carry the British Pork Quality Standard Mark on pack. Consumers
can also register their support for the campaign by visiting
Chairman Stewart Houston said: "Retail prices
have begun to rise and two national surveys have shown
that consumers are happy to pay these modest increases
to help farmers. But these rises have not been widely passed
all the way down the supply chain to farmers.
have got to reach the bottom of the chain or the industry
will go into meltdown. Farmers need to see at least 130p
per kilo by Easter to survive. At the current price of
110p they are losing up to £26 on every
"We realise that a lot of people in Britain
are having to tighten their belts at the moment. But these
are exceptional circumstances for pig farmers, caused by
massive increases in the price of feed across the World.
a large number of farmers do quit the industry there simply
won't be enough quality pig meat to meet consumer demand.
Prices will rise sharply and there will be less high welfare
pork on supermarket shelves. By then it will be too late.
Once farmers have taken the decision to quit the industry
the investment required to recommence pig production is
likely to be prohibitive."
For further details visit
- A report "The impact of Feed Costs on the British
Pig Industry" provides full details of the implications
of high feed prices. The full report is available online
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.
- BPEX commissioned
two consumer surveys from YouGov Plc - August and December,
2007. Both surveys indicated that consumers were prepared
to pay more for pork and pork products to support British
- 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 70% of all imports
fail to do so.
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