NPA hits out at anti super-pig farm campaign

The National Pig Association has hit out at claims that a proposed super-pig farm in Derbyshire will lead to US-style factory farms in the UK.

Barney Kay of the National Pig Association labelled the Soil Association’s campaign against the Midland Pig Producers farm in Foston as “misleading”. 

The campaigning charity is holding an open meeting in Burton-on-Trent this evening to oppose the farm. It will screen a documentary, ‘The Dark Side of Farming’, which charts the rise of factory farms in the USA and the spread of the intensive farming model into Europe.

However, Kay said: “It is not possible to draw parallels between the US-style farms and the proposed farm, based purely on parallels of scale.”

Kay pointed out the high welfare standards of the UK pig industry and said that the farm – which would include cutting-edge technology to minimise its carbon footprint and provide excellent welfare for the animals – provided a way to increase the quantity of pigs reared to high welfare standard and displace low welfare imported pigmeat.

The Soil Association has appealed to the Secretary of State for the Environment to intervene and prevent intensive pig farms from being built near residential areas, linking large-scale farms to the spread of new strains of salmonella, which can pass from pigs to humans.

A Defra spokesperson said: “It’s how animals are looked after that has the biggest impact on their own health, as well as human health, regardless of how big the farm is. That’s why it’s so important that farmers take the necessary steps to ensure good hygiene and biosecurity to stop infections like salmonella.”

Jon Bullock, Bpex’s industry communications manager, said: “This is a zoonotic organism and the pig industry has a major control programme running, though eradication is impossible as many exist in the environment. Excellent controls exist in abattoirs, reducing the incidence dramatically, and all zoonoses are destroyed by proper cooking.”

The Women's Institute (WI) recently rejected a vote on a resolution, which would have seen it campaign against large-scale 'factory farming', calling for further research and an open debate on the issue.

The Soil Association campaign is supported by Dominic West, international star of police drama The Wire, who recently spoke out against the farm. 

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