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NPA was formed as the British pig industry's single voice in a turbulent era of market failure, rampant disease, retailer duplicity, political infamy and a dysfunctional levy-board. It had a faltering first year, but these days a top-flight management team is in place and NPA continues to change the face of the British pig industry for the better.
BPISG plans to take Government to Judicial Review
Pig farmers facing their worst financial crisis for 50 years are planning to haul minister of agriculture Nick Brown before a judicial review to try to prove they have been illegally discriminated against by the Government.
Over the last 18 months pig prices have been well below the cost of production and it is estimated that since the start of the crisis the British pig industry has lost £300m. The British Pig Industry Support Group may now take the entire issue to a judicial review to try to force the Government's hand.
A spokesman for the support group, Digby Scott, said yesterday: "We require a vast amount of detailed information for our legal representatives, and we are now in the process of putting this together.
"Success in the courts would mean that the Government would have to stop unfairly discriminating against British pig producers."
If successful, the pig farmers say they will ultimately seek compensation from the Government. They argue that the industry is owed £80m a year in compensation for BSE "mad cow" costs which have been unfairly loaded on them — even though pigs have at no time been implicated in the scare.
Pig farmers say they intend to deliver caged sows to the front doors of supermarkets and hotels throughout the country in the run-up to Christmas.
The campaign will aim to demonstrate to shoppers the cruel conditions condoned by supermarkets and caterers by importing cheap pigmeat from France, Belgium, Holland and other European countries, where most sows are still housed in stalls.
The Support Group is advising shoppers to insist on British pork, bacon and ham. "This is the only way they can be sure they are not supporting foreign regimes where pigs are kept in cages and fed sewage sludge," said Mr Scott.
"By exploiting labelling loopholes, processors and supermarkets are able to import increasing quantities of foreign pigmeat without shoppers being aware of what they are buying."
|Above: Travelling to Kings Cross on the Pig Express organised by Meryl Ward, Barry Turner and Julia Hawkin prepare for the London March by donning piggy masks.|
|Above, right: Eight-year-old Graham Ward, with brother Sam, sister Emma, and mother Meryl, and BPISG chairman Stewart Houston, deliver a letter to Prime Minister Tony Blair, asking him to intervene in the pig sector crisis.|
|Above: Paul Ibottson, of Newark, Ian Selby, of Benniworth, Wilf Brown, of Barnby, and Des Allen, of Coddington, on the Pig Express.|
|All of us are now
so, so desperate
Stewart Houston, who farms pigs near Ripon, said: "Many significant pig producers I know are working their way to get out of pigs. "They are fortunate. They have got a choice. A lot of smaller producers haven't got that choice and soon the decision will be made for them. The situation is just so, so desperate."
Why are they so keen to kill us off?
"We have no idea why this Government wants to kill the pig industry. All of us want to see assistance given to the sheep and beef sectors, but their problems are no more serious than ours in the pig industry. "I don't think they understand that there is hardly a pig industry left. If we got the same money as the sheep and beef people, it might save us." — BPISG spokesman.