Hundreds of pig farmers attended a rally in London on 4 March to campaign for fair prices from supermarkets. Compassion in World Farming joined the farmers in support of their campaign, but also to urge them to see free-range and higher welfare as the way to save their British bacon.
British pigs are already experiencing better welfare than much of imported products, thanks to the UK ban on sow stalls, but there is still room for improvement, particularly the provision of straw, a reduction in tail-docking and stopping the use of farrowing crates.
Some commentators have wrongly blamed the UK's higher welfare standards for driving up the cost of pig production; however, the rising costs are primarily down to the rising price of wheat and unfavourable exchange rates. The effect of the ban on sow stalls was marginal in terms of costs and gave British pig farmers a clear selling point over competitors still using this cruel system.
When buying pork, consumers should not only look for British, but for free-range and organic. 'Outdoor-reared', 'outdoor-bred' and RSPCA Freedom Food pigs are also kept to higher welfare standards.
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