Thursday, 28 January 2010

MPs Demand An End to Pig Cruelty

Seventy MPs have signed an Early Day Motion demanding action to end the appalling cruelty and environmental waste and destruction behind the production of 1.3million tonnes of pig meat consumed annually in the UK

The motion praises film maker Tracy Worcester’s shocking film, Pig Business and calls for improved enforcement of animal welfare regulations, mandatory labeling of meat as to farming method and for public procurement to play a leading role in improving pig welfare. The EDM also calls on retailers to support British pig farmers by not selling imported pigmeat that has been produced to lower standards of welfare than those required in the UK

Scenes from Pig Business, one of the most significant and disturbing films ever made about man’s abuse of the environment and the industrialised cruelty to animals were shown at the House of Commons on 27 January.

The screening was co-sponsored by Zac Goldsmith, who said;

“Pig Business exposes the true cost of cheap food; a cost that is paid in needless animal cruelty and appalling pollution of the environment. Equally it demonstrates the inequity of a system where the UK insists on its own farmers maintaining relatively high animal welfare standards while permitting the import of poor quality food from abroad. It is a major reason why British farmers are being forced out of business.

There’s lots we can do. For instance, we should demand honest labelling. Currently products can be described as British produce even where they have been produced elsewhere. We can ensure that imports meet our own standards. And we can spend public money more intelligently.

It is scandalous that the £2 billion of public money that we spend each year on food for schools and hospitals is wasted on the cheapest junk available on the world’s markets. We should use it to support the rural economy, cut food miles and make good quality, humanely produced food available to children and patients everywhere.”

Tracy’s film has been hampered by legal threats, and media outlets have been reluctant to screen it. Tracy said; “I am delighted that, at last, key parts of the film will be shown without fear of retribution at the House of Commons. Now lawmakers can decide for themselves if this industry should be allowed to continue to flood the UK with ‘cheap’, low welfare meat while UK farmers, who respect our higher animal welfare laws, are struggling to survive.”

Pig Business is available to view on Youtube. It will be shown at midnight on More 4 on 2nd of February 2010 and the community channel on 31st January at 10pm

Note: The Early Day Motion [562: Pig Welfare] reads:

This House congratulates Tracy Worcester on her film, Pig Business, highlighting the adverse health, animal welfare, environmental and economic impact of industrial pig production; calls on retailers, food manufacturers and food service operators to support British pig farmers by not selling or using imported pigmeat produced to lower animal welfare standards than those that are required in the UK; calls upon the Government to take a lead in persuading the EU to adopt mandatory labelling of pig meat as to farming method so that consumers can make informed choices; calls on public sector bodies to procure only pigmeat that is free range or is produced to standards equivalent to those of the RSPCA Freedom Food scheme; and further calls on the Government to ensure the proper enforcement of EU legislation on the welfare of pigs and to press other EU governments to do likewise.

The Pig Welfare EDM 562 has been tabled by Peter Ainsworth MP and signed by 45 MPs that include the following, in standard order.

Peter Ainsworth; Alan Simpson; Chris Mullin; Gwyn Prosser; Steve Webb; Timothy Farron; Paul Holmes; Lindsay Hoyle; Paul Flynn; Peter Bottomley; Adrian Sanders; Lynne Jones; Bob Laxton; John McDonnell; Alan Meale; Laura Moffatt; Colin Breed; Colin Burgon; Martin Caton; Frank Cook; Ann Cryer; Janet Dean; Andrew Dismore; Mark Durkan; James Gray; and Ann Winterton