Pig farmers stop lorries in imports protest

HUNDREDS OF British pig farmers stopped and searched lorries at a Lincolnshire port yesterday in an attempt to halt imports of cheap factory- farmed pork.

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.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?