In January, the British Pig Executive (BPEX) began a consumer press advertising drive claiming “two-thirds of imported pork comes from farms that operate welfare practices that would be illegal in Britain”.
But officials this week intensified the campaign by sending out direct mail shots to 250,000 carefully selected consumers’ homes.
The shots contained details of the technical point on which the drive is based, namely that it is illegal to confine pregnant sows in the UK, but it is not in most other parts of Europe.
It urged consumers to buy products carrying BPEX’s
Quality Standard Mark, stating: “The QSM is your guarantee that the pork, bacon, ham and sausages you buy are produced to welfare standards that would be legal in Britain.”
It included a tear-off freepost
card on which consumers could register their support for the BPEX campaign.
Replies will be used to put more pressure on supermarkets to make greater use of the QSM and abandon products that do not qualify to carry it. The mail shot will also appear as an insert in 240,000 copies of tomorrow’s edition of The Observer.
BPEX’s campaign web site - www.lookforthemark.co.uk - is set to start carrying ‘negative lists’ of products in retailers that do not meet the standards required to qualify for the QSM. Until now, the site has listed only products that do.
The BPEX campaign has annoyed Danish and Dutch pigmeat producers. But marketing manager Chris Lukehurst said he was awaiting feedback on a proposal he had made regarding how their products could carry the QSM provided they qualified.
He added: “We ought to co-operate, but we ought to be co-operating on common ground.”