BRITISH pig farmers are naming and shaming food companies which are continuing to use pork products imported from EU countries that are continuing to illegally keep pigs in sow stalls.
The Wall-of-Fame-and-Shame website has been set up to list food manufacturers, retailers and caterers which have pledged to source imported pork products only from farms operating legally and those which have not.
The National Pig Association (NPA) said food companies must check their sources of supply to ensure they are using pork from countries which have removed their pigs from the cages.
The NPA said: “They must be absolutely certain the bacon, sausages, ham, pizzas and other processed pork they sell do not come from farms that are flouting European animal welfare law.”
Sow stalls became illegal across the EU on January 1 this year, although they have been banned in the UK since 1999. The stalls are so narrow that pigs cannot turn around, they can only stand, sit or lie down.
The NPA said that as many as 40,000 pigs an hour are being delivered to continental processing plants from illegally-operated pig farms.
NPA general manager Dr Zoe Davies said: “As Britain imports around 60% of its processed pork it is inevitable that many consumers are unwittingly supporting this unacceptable European trade in illegally-farmed pigs.
“Shoppers must be told which British retailers and food companies they can trust not to take part in this trade.”
Yorkshire pig farmer John Rowbottom, a member of NPA’s policy-making producer group, said, “If Brussels cannot police its own rules, then British pig farmers will have to do the job for them. British consumers are being sold pork products from continental farms that are operating illegally.
“It’s a gross breach of animal welfare, it is unfair on consumers and it is unfair on British farmers, because it distorts fair trade.”
Meanwhile, the Farm Energy Centre (FEC) working on behalf of the NPA has agreed new Climate Change Levy (CCL) targets with the Government, aiming to save the pig industry an estimated £18.5m over the next decade.
A 22.7% energy saving target has been set in agreement with Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to run from next year until 2023.
Pig farmers who meet this target will then be able to claim a discount on CCL of 90% on electricity and 65% on other eligible fuels.