Letter: Of pigs and foxes

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The Independent Culture
Sir: I should like to buy Deborah Orr a bacon sandwich, made with best British bacon of course, and thank her for highlighting a situation whereby we, in Britain, can legislate to impose higher standards of animal welfare on our pig farmers than are to be found anywhere else in the world ("Forget the fox, pity the pig", 9 July). At the same time, we can also go into any of our major supermarkets or restaurant chains and buy imported pork, bacon or ham produced in conditions that are illegal here.

I am a pig farmer, and I am proud to produce my pigs without the use of stalls and tethers, without castrating my male piglets, and without including meat and bonemeal in the diet fed to my pigs. All my fellow British pig farmers can make the same claim. No other country in the world has banned these practices.

Our Minister of Agriculture tells us to let market forces decide. He says that if we, as consumers, continue to buy Dutch or Danish bacon, for example, then that is proof that our concern for the welfare of animals is limited to attaching "ourselves to moral stands that involve no personal sacrifice". Can this be true?

MICHAEL SHELDON

Great Horwood, Buckinghamshire

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