UK pig farmers are challenging all companies selling imported pork and pork products to publically commit that they are not selling illegally-produced meat from farms that are not compliant with European welfare legislation outlawing the prolonged confinement of sow stalls.
The National Pig Association has launched a website Wall-of-Fame-and-Shame which lists companies that have pledged to source imported pork products only from farms that are operating legally.
Most European Union countries have failed to comply with the European Union’s animal welfare directive which from January 1, 2013 bans the prolonged confinement of sows in stalls. Individual sow stalls have been outlawed on British pig units for 14 years. They are so narrow, pigs cannot turn around — all they can do is sit, stand, and lie down. To promote animal welfare, BPEX has launched a Compliant Pork website to provide regular updates on the progress of European countries towards compliance of the partial sow stall ban.
As many as 40,000 pigs an hour are being delivered to continental processing plants from illegally-operated pig farms, according to the National Pig Association’s calculations. “As Britain imports around 60 percent of its processed pork it is inevitable that many consumers are unwittingly supporting this unacceptable European trade in illegally-farmed pigs,” said Dr. Zoe Davies general manager of the National Pig Association. “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 National Pig Association’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.”