4th March 2008
British pig industry doesn?t deserve saving
Viva! urges consumers to boycott all pig meat
Viva! ? Europe?s largest vegetarian campaigning organisation ? has said today that a new consumer campaign by the British Pig Executive (BPEX) doesn?t tell shoppers the whole story. British pig farming is nothing to be proud of claim the group.
Viva! has visited dozens of pig farms across Britain over the last few years and documented cruel methods of production which, it says, would shock most consumers. Their investigation into British pig farms revealed a picture of filth, overcrowding, dead and dying animals and widespread neglect.
Last year, Viva! patron Heather Mills joined the group on an investigation of a pig farrowing unit in Somerset. The footage showed farrowing crates - metal cages only a little bigger than a pig?s body ? in which sows are held captive for a month every time they give birth. They can take little more than a pace or two forward and back but can never turn around and cannot mother their young. More than 70 per cent of all UK sows are subjected to this torture*.
Defra figures show that over 90 per cent of British piglets are raised in intensive indoor units* where they will never go outside, and are killed at just six months. Despite routine painful mutilations such as tail docking and teeth clipping of piglets being prohibited, research has shown that these could be commonplace on British farms. Piglet mortality on British farms using farrowing crates runs high at over 11 per cent, but can be lower abroad **.
Justin Kerswell, Viva!?s campaigns manager, says: ?Yes, British pigs are worth it, and that?s why we are encouraging people not to eat them! The British pig industry boasts of the best animal welfare in the world, yet everywhere we pointed the camera we saw filth, suffering and neglect.
?British pig farming is nothing to be proud of. Of course, the answer is not to move production abroad ? the answer is for all consumers to reject pig meat and to go vegetarian.?
Notes to Editors
* Survey of Agriculture and Horticulture: 1 June 2006. England. Defra
** Viva! farrowing crate fact sheet and Pig Yearbook 2006. BPEX and MLC
A fully referenced fact sheet on the farrowing crate production can be read at www.viva.org.uk/campaigns/pigs/farrowing/farrowingfactsheet.htm. Footage of Viva!?s undercover investigation into British pig farming and further information can be viewed at www.piggles.org.uk . For more information on the campaign contact Justin Kerswell/Juliet Gellatley or press officer Helen Rossiter on 0117 944 1000 or email email@example.com