THE majority of people in Yorkshire want the choice to buy high welfare pork, ham, sausages and bacon and are prepared to pay for it, according to a new survey published by the British Pig Executive (BPEX).

When told about the current pig crisis which may force pig farmers out of business, an overwhelming eight out of ten (84 per cent) agreed that it was important that consumers retained the choice to buy these products from pigs reared with the highest standards of animal welfare.

And 71 per cent of those who regularly bought pork, bacon, ham or sausages were prepared to pay a few pence more if it had come from pigs produced to higher welfare standards.

The British pig industry is on the verge of vanishing, even though it has some of the highest animal welfare standards in Europe. The high cost of feed prices over the past year mean that many farmers have sustained massive losses.

If pig farmers do not receive price rises soon, many face the prospect of going out of business and that means consumers will lose their choice to buy higher welfare Quality Standard Mark pork, bacon, sausages and ham.

An emergency meeting has been called by the pig industry’s Pigs Are Worth It Campaign at the House of Commons next Tuesday when politicians will be warned the British pig industry remains under threat and the industry crisis will continue into next year.

Many pig farmers are still losing over £20 a pig, and need a further 10-20p a kilo to break even, says the campaign. British pig farmers are forecast to post losses of £200m this year. The country’s breeding herd is expected to decline a further 10 per cent on top of the 50 per cent reduction it has experienced over the past decade.

A spokesman for the campaign said: “While our efforts so far have produced results, it is not enough to effectively meet the scale of the challenge, and if we wish to secure the future of the United Kingdom’s pig production and primary processing sector we must take action now.

“We need the help of parliamentarians to continue to raise political and public awareness of the issue and to urge government to act to rectify the current market failure which has the potential to lead to the loss of the United Kingdom pig herd.”

The YouGov survey showed consumers remained sympathetic to the plight of pig farmers with 76 per cent of respondents saying they were prepared to pay more for pork products simply to help farmers through the current crisis.

Full story from the Yorkshire Post

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