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British pig farmers could be the next victim of supermarkets' price war

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: August 06, 2012

Pig farmers are facing rising feed costs, which could see 10 per cent of them quit

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Bacon, Britain's favourite breakfast food, is under threat – with 10 per cent of pig producers saying they may be forced to quit by Christmas, defeated by high feed prices.

But the whole problem could be sorted out if shoppers were prepared to pay an extra 2p per rasher, explained a leading Westcountry pig farmer.

The National Pig Association (NPA) has collated statistics showing pig feed has increased in cost by a quarter this year, with prices likely to go on rising.

It says that around one-and-a-half million rashers of British bacon a week look likely to disappear from supermarket shelves, while 2.3 million sausages a week are also at risk of disappearing. It will also mean less British sausage rolls and pork pies on the shelves.

The NPA, which blames poor crop-growing weather around the world for making pig feed too expensive for farmers, is urging shoppers to make a special effort to support them over the months ahead. Pig farmers needed to persuade the supply chain to work together towards a producer price that reflected the rises in feed prices.

"If supermarkets see a surge in demand for British products, they may be persuaded to pay our farmers the few extra pennies to cover their soaring feed bills," said NPA general manager Dr Zoe Davies. "We are asking shoppers to look for the British Red Tractor logo on bacon, sausages and pork."

Empty spaces on supermarket shelves could be filled with imported bacon and sausages – but these would not be produced to British welfare standards. European pork products will also soon be in shorter supply too, as the European Commission expects EU pig production to shrink.

British pig farmers have faced a 25 per cent increase in the cost of pig feed ingredients, such as wheat and soya, as a result of drought in the USA. At the same time, intense rivalry is making supermarkets reluctant to pay farmers more to cover their extra costs.

In a new NPA survey, pig farmers representing 10 per cent of Britain's weekly pig-meat production said if they did not see a fair price between now and Christmas they would have no option but to stop production — because they could not afford to feed their animals.

"Trying to get more money from the supermarkets is like getting blood from a stone," said Andrew Freemantle, who farms 300 sows near Exeter. "It costs farmers £1.70 now to produce a kilo of sausages, but they are only getting £1.50 from the retailers. An extra 2p per sausage would make all the difference, as would an extra 2p per rasher of bacon."

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  • Charlespk  |  August 11 2012, 8:30PM

    I'll bet your really proud being supported by so many (or not) of these Red Arrowing, brain dead pygmies Max. . A man of your age should know by now that people will always judge you by the company you keep. . I really can't make you out.

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  • Pingu007  |  August 11 2012, 4:33PM

    I don't understand why the journalist writing this hasn't put any questions to any actual supermarkets. I think their first answer would be that (the majority of) British consumers don't actually give a fig about the pigs, but just want to buy cheap grub, regardless of how it's been produced. I think the WMN has simply reproduced a press release from the NPA. Like Azriel, earlier, I will only buy British pork (far higher standards for pig farming than anywhere else in the world, including those supposed world-class piggers, the Danes), and prefer to buy it from local butchers (a dying breed) or farmers' markets. It might seem pricier, I'm sure it works out at exactly the same cost, as a proper rasher doesn't shrink away to nothing when grilled.

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  • Grumpygutz  |  August 11 2012, 12:34PM

    So what is everyone having for Sunday lunch tomorrow?

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  • 2ladybugs  |  August 11 2012, 9:52AM

    homerjay Homerjay, I buy NO MEAT from anywhere other than my local farm so I know exactly how it is raised and how it is slaughtered. There is definitely no Halal slaughtering going on there I can assure you. You will find that my main concerns are towards fellow human beings, mainly the ones who are unable to fend or speak for themselves. So please in future please keep your anger directed at somebody else other than me. Thank you.

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  • Charlespk  |  August 11 2012, 9:11AM

    Who am I Max!? . You are starting Max!!! I'm a lad who grew up on a Council Estate with the morals, standards of behaviour and discipline that very few have enjoyed sadly; as the state of this country shows. . You are examining through a 'microscope', the behaviour of probably the most wholesome group in the populace save for Nuns perhaps. .'Old fashioned country folk'. If we are now going to have a 'Witch Hunt' society, exposing human frailties, there will be far more to be exposed in the inner cities. . Take my word for it. . For every 'crime against living creatures' that you expose in the 'countryside', there will 100 more in society and the general populace. . I think a 12 year old child was discovered yesterday! . Babies dying, animals ill-treated; at least abattoirs are open to scrutiny as your litany of VIVA subterfuge constantly demonstrates. . Get your priorities right! .

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  • omnivore23  |  August 11 2012, 12:20AM

    Yeh - thing is Homerjay - when you start saying things like "pigs have a greater right to life than grumpy guts" you kind of lose any moral high ground you might have held, as well as your grasp let alone your lead on the debate. (you were doing good for a while, as they might say on sports telly) Epic fail mate. Unless you can sing it as well as Morrissey, as well as actually being Morrisey in which case I thoroughly agree with everything you say.

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  • homerjay  |  August 10 2012, 11:59PM

    2ladybugs How would you know it's halal or otherwise if it's not labelled? And you are quite right not to eat pork from any point of view. Grumpygutz the troll you are pathetic, the shame is that the pig you eat is far more deserving of the air you breathe you sad troll. Charles Pursue prejudices? Who are you to pontificate about prejudices? Animals suffer daily for your prejudices and others like you. Wake up Charles and do something altruistic for once in your life instead of boasting of your bank balance probably gained by the lambs you sent for slaughter.

  • Charlespk  |  August 10 2012, 9:11AM

    "need genuinely pursuing."

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  • Charlespk  |  August 10 2012, 9:09AM

    Max your real problem is, your very genuine concerns shared by most of us have been overshadowed and submerged in the bigoted attacks on all country pursuits. Quote :- "Last Friday, whilst the eyes of the nation were understandably elsewhere, the RSPCA quietly dropped the private prosecution it had brought against Heythrop huntsman Julian Barnfield relating to two allegations from the 2010/11 hunting season. In offering no evidence the RSPCA admitted what we had always believed; that the allegations were spurious and completely without merit. This retreat should not go unnoticed, however, not least as the RSPCA has launched a second, larger prosecution involving Heythrop hunt staff, masters and the hunt as a whole". "This retreat should not go unnoticed, however, not least as the RSPCA has launched a second, larger prosecution involving Heythrop hunt staff, masters and the hunt as a whole". You are now ALL becoming labelled as sick bigots with nothing better to do than pursue your prejudices. . Where as in fact many concerns over Halal meat and the production of some foreign imports need genuinely.

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  • Grumpygutz  |  August 09 2012, 11:37PM

    homerjay, you forgot the most important thing in your list on pigs "pigs taste wonderful, especially roast with apple sauce"