The UK’s pork producers are to launch a press ad campaign claiming “two-thirds of imported pork comes from farms that operate welfare practices that would be illegal in Britain”.
The £350,000 campaign will run from mid-January to early February in several newspapers including The Times, The Telegraph, The Guardian and The Independent.
It represents the latest salvo to be fired by the British Pig Executive (BPEX) in its bid to turn a spotlight on pig welfare standards abroad.
BPEX told The Grocer its argument centred on the confinement of pregnant sows during the early stages of gestation. This is outlawed in the UK but still permitted and practised in Denmark and
Holland, both of which export huge amounts of pork and bacon to the UK.The campaign is sure to anger Danish and Dutch producers.
BPEX marketing manager Chris Lukehurst said UK farmers were not concerned that the products were imports, adding: “We just want to see a level playing field. We import pork produced using these practices.”
The campaign urges shoppers to look for the Quality Pork Standard mark, redesigned so it can incorporate flags other than the Union Jack if pork from the country in question has been produced to British farm assurance standards.
Dutch Meat Board MD Robert Smith was “disappointed” by the ad’s negativity, claiming it could affect consumption as a whole. He refused to rule out a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority. “When consumers see ‘illegal’, they think it means ‘unsafe’,” he said.
Four years ago, the Danish Bacon and Meat Council complained to the ASA about a campaign by the UK pig sector. One ad focused on feeding practices, claiming farmers abroad were feeding sows to their piglets.The ASA upheld the complaint about that particular advertisement.
Richard Clarke