Letter: Plight of the pig farmers

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The Independent Online
THE PROBLEMS of farmers have recently attracted widespread publicity ("The farmer of the future", 29 August). However, the spotlight has largely been on the subsidised livestock sectors: dairy, beef and sheep. If anything, the plight of pig farmers is even worse.

Few people know that pig farmers receive no EU subsidies, although some countries, notably France, have assisted their producers. Meanwhile farmers in the UK have to comply with expensive unilateral rules on animal welfare and feed. They are proud of their high standards, but it is impossible for them to compete with the huge tide of imported pig meat. Over a year's lobbying has got them nowhere with the Government. The Agriculture minister Nick Brown even insists that Maff canteens should be allowed to serve pig meat that does not meet UK health and welfare standards, citing the caterers' right to make "profit-making decisions". All he has done for pig farmers is to impose even higher abbatoir charges, pushing them further into loss.

NEIL DATSON

Spelsbury, Oxfordshire

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