Thursday March 3, 11am-4pm
Opposite Downing Street
Pigs Are Still Worth It campaign
The solid phalanx of traffic that heads for Dartford Tunnel cannot fail to see the 40ft banner erected by Cheales as part of the Banners Blitz campaign.
Why it's worth it
If you are attending the rally today you have already contributed to a media blitz that will put pressure on recalcitrant retailers, and help persuade consumers to insist on British. (If you aren't attending, you haven't.)
Covering the rally will be (among others)...
Meat Trade News Daily
Farming News Daily
Channel Four News
Radio Five Live
Radio Five Live
BBC Radio Devon
ITV West Country West Tonight
ITV Central News TV
BBC Oxford TV
BBC East Midlands x
BBC Look North
NPA thanks all producers who have given interviews to the above.
Scarey Barney Kay
NPA general manager Barney Kay had been due to make an appearance on BBC Breakfast tomorrow, to discuss the pig industry crisis.
But he's been bumped off the studio sofa by the British Retail Consortium. He has been told today by the BBC that the British Retail Consortium would not appear live on television with him.
"Perhaps the British Retail Consortium felt it wouldn't get away with sweeping and misleading statements if I was present," he said.
The pig industry point of view will be represented on the programme by producer Cameron Naughton, in footage shot today.
It is not known how long it will take Mr Kay to recover his normal good humour.
Keep selling us pigs at a loss
We want pig farmers to continue selling at a loss, says the British Retail Consortium, ahead of tomorrow's pig industry Downing Street Rally.
"Keeping shop prices down is the right thing to do in the current financial climate. Making pork products more expensive will just cause customers to buy less, the opposite of what farmers want," says British Retail Consortium food director Andrew Opie.
His message to pig producers is clear... Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury's are going to continue paying unsustainable prices for British pigs.
Seeking to distance supermarkets from the current supply chain malfunction, he says supermarkets do not pay farmers directly for their pork.
"The direct relationship is between farmers and processors. Blaming retailers ignores the importance of the buying decisions made by manufacturers and caterers. The government should also be questioned about its own procurement policies."
Opie claims supermarkets are the heroes of the supply chain, rather than the villains.
"Retailers know some consumers prefer to buy British. They're already doing what they need to to look after their supply chain and secure a sustainable United Kingdom pig industry so they can sell the products people want to buy."
His remarks have been greeted with incredulity by NPA.
"If the retailers are helping the industry I'd love to see how and where," said NPA and BPEX chairman Stewart Houston today.
"The simple truth is their margins have been maintained at the expense of those at the start of the supply chain - the producers.
"Saying they have no direct relationship with producers is complete rubbish. They dictate prices to processors who pass those prices directly to producers. It is a very short supply chain and they have nowhere to hide. How much money there is in the supply chain is determined by the price supermarkets pay. It is as simple as that."
Downing Street Rally
The rally texting list is now closed and at 195 is bigger than the texting list for the 2008 rally (179). Thank you to all who have joined the list. You will continue to be updated through today and tomorrow.
MEETINGS WITH MPs
The list of producers who are prepared to meet their MP at the rally (if the MP in question is available) is now closed. Thank you to all who filled in the form on this page, or texted their MP's name.
Today in the Commons
Early Day Motion by Richard Bacon MP, to coincide with the Downing Street Rally: This House notes that there is a growing crisis in the United Kingdom pig industry with soaring feed prices causing significant rises in production costs; that United Kingdom producers are now losing a crippling average of £21 on every pig produced; that United Kingdom producers observe some of the highest standards of animal welfare in the world as demonstrated by their commitment to the Red Tractor scheme; that supermarkets and processors continue to report large profits while pig farmers are being forced out of business; recognises that if this is allowed to continue it will have devastating effects on jobs in rural communities; and calls on the supermarkets and processors to support high levels of animal welfare and pay United Kingdom farmers a fair price for their pigs.
Source: newsroom - meattradenewsdaily.co.uk
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