Pig farmers stop lorries in imports protest
Thursday 13 August 1998
The farmers launched a one day action at Immingham Dock in a protest designed to highlight the plight of the UK pig industry which they say is close to financial ruin.
The demonstration targeted lorries from Denmark, one of the main suppliers of pork products to Britain's supermarkets. Danish pig farmers use the cheaper "stall and tether" rearing method, a practice which is banned in the UK from next January, allowing them to undercut their British rivals.
The protest passed off peacefully with no arrests, according to Humberside Police, and disruption to port business was minimal.
An estimated 800 farmers, some arriving on tractors and muck-spreaders, carried placards and waved banners.
Lorry drivers entering the port were stopped, given pork sandwiches, and told the harm importing pig meat is doing to livelihoods.
The action marks a stepping up of the campaign to raise the profile of the British pig industry which has been overshadowed by the BSE beef crisis. Campaigners say the pig industry is losing some pounds 200m a year through depressed prices and a flood of cheap imports as wholesalers take advantage of the strong pound to buy more pork from abroad.
The industry faces further problems from new legislation which outlaws the "sow stall" in the new year.
The "sow stall" is the pig equivalent of the veal crate, a metal cage 8ft by 2ft which is large enough for an adult pig to stand in but not turn around. Farmers are now returning to traditional, and more costly, rearing methods which allow pigs to roam in 25 sq ft pens.
The ban was brought in following pressure from the RSPCA, consumers and animal welfare campaigners but does not apply to the Continent nor does it prohibit British wholesalers importing animals reared in factory conditions.
The return to more humane methods has cost an estimated pounds 500 per pig leaving the average-sized pig farm with a bill of around pounds 150,000.
Digby Scott, spokesman for the British Pig Support Group, said: "The situation for a large number of farmers is desperate. Prices for British meat have slumped to their lowest level in 60 years and many farmers are having to quit the business. Farmers have cried wolf in the past but the industry this time is at crisis point.
"Shoppers have told us they want British pork and bacon because it is safer and better, so why won't the supermarkets sell it?"
Supermarkets insisted they always tried to buy British.
Sainsbury's said 100 per cent of pre-packed pork was from the UK, but only 50 per cent of its bacon was British. Tesco and Safeway said they would only buy from farms where "sow stalls" were not used.
Asda said 90 per cent of its fresh pork was British but it did buy in French loin pork because of short domestic supply.
- 1 Hair loss explained: How and why men go bald
- 2 Game of Thrones season 6: Jon Snow theorists believe the Stark may have a twin sister
- 3 Artist takes LSD, draws herself over different stages of the 9-hour trip to show its effects
- 4 A pint of water every day is the key to losing weight, scientists say
- 5 Russia 'accidentally reveals' number of its soldiers killed in eastern Ukraine
Most expensive city to live in for expatriates: Luanda, Angola takes number one spot with Hong Kong and Zurich in top three
Video of Irish 'professional boxer' fighting Istanbul neighbourhood goes viral in Turkey
Irish tourist filmed fighting with shopkeepers in Turkey says they 'messed with the wrong man'
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal get peerages
Moody neurotics are more likely to be creative geniuses, study says
Dresden riots: Protesters in Germany attack refugee buses shouting 'foreigners out'
France train shooting: US soldiers speak of the moment they stopped gunman and 'beat him until he was unconscious'
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn accused of 'deluding' young supporters with 'claptrap'
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith calls for urgent ESA overhaul as part of drive to cut down welfare costs
£13000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to be part of a ...
£19000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT and Telecoms company ar...
£23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Visitor Fundraising Team is responsi...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...