British bacon crusaders were challenged at this week's Oxford farming conference to face the realities of the market in which they operate. Danske Slagterier's managing director Anne Birgitte Lundholt reminded her audience that consumers' preferences do not balance pig carcases ­ anywhere in the world, let alone the UK. "Consumers in Britain have traditionally had a great fondness for middle and back bacon and a relative disdain for other parts of the carcase. She added: "Your industry has made commendable steps in improving overall pigmeat self sufficiency." But autonomy for current UK demand patterns in pigmeat, she said, would take up to 15 years, need twice as many British pigs, and generate at least half a million tonnes of legs and forends to export. The message was a clear shot across the bows of would-be dockside vigilantes. And Lundholt believes that the British and Danish industries have more in common than some want to believe. There is scope, she believes, for the adoption of common minimum standards, even if each country brings with it differing priorities. Both industries care about providing safe, traceable quality product; both are committed to improving animal health and welfare. "And we both advocate fair and equitable trading conditions," she observed. "If you're looking for an ally in your endeavour to improve standards, you could do no better than look to your friends from Denmark." {{PROVISIONS }}

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