News 327 views last update:Mar 11, 2008

UK pig farmers record a single for price raises

Pig farmers from across the UK have recorded a single as part of the campaign to raise awareness of their fight for fairer prices for their pigs.

Stand By Your Ham is based on the Tammy Wynette 1968 classic Stand by your Man and was recorded in a London studio by a group of 30 farmers. Listen to the song over here.

The lyrics of the original song have been reworked to reflect the crisis that the pig industry is currently facing. This is due to massive increases in feed prices caused by rocketing world wheat prices. The majority of farmers are now selling every pig they rear at a loss of up to £26 (€34). The industry as a whole faces potential losses of £200 million (€261 million) in the next year.

Barney Kay, National Pig Association (NPA) general manager and man behind Stand By Your Ham, said: "It is a slightly tongue in cheek way of raising awareness of a serious issue. Put simply, farmers need to receive more for their pigs or many face the prospect of going out of business. All they are asking for is a fair price.

"Consumers have said in two national surveys that they are prepared to pay a little more to help farmers and retail prices have started to go up, but hardly any of this has been passed back down the supply chain."

A recent NPA survey showed that 95% of pig farmers are considering stopping production if the price they receive does not improve ultimately leading to a shortage of pig meat in the long term and potentially steep rises in the retail price of pork, sausages, bacon and ham.

Consumers would also see reduced choice in high welfare products as British farmers have amongst the highest welfare standards in the World. EU countries supplying the UK are not legally obliged to meet these UK minimum legal standards; as a result an estimated 70% of all imports would be illegal to produce in the UK.

Quit the industry
"Once farmers have taken the decision to quit the industry the investment required to recommence pig production is likely to be prohibitive," said Barney Kay.

"We're asking people to show their support for farmers by looking for the Quality Standard Mark on pork, bacon, ham and sausages.  This helps support farmers who produce to higher standards of welfare."

Anyone wishing to register their support can also sign the online petition by clicking here.

Related websites:
• National Pig Association

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