UFU asks retailers about sow stall ban

The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) has written to local retailers in Northern Ireland to gain an insight on their position with regards to non-compliant EU pig farmers.

The letter was sent by the pork and bacon chairman Ivor Ferguson, who asked for the retailers to “outline their position” regarding EU pig farmers not complying with the European Commission’s ban on the use of sow stalls.

Ferguson said: “Animal welfare has always been a priority for our local pig industry. UK producers implemented a ban on sow stalls 13 years ago in 1999 and have been committed to ensuring our pork and bacon is exclusively produced under animal welfare-friendly conditions.”

According to Ferguson, there are no formal measures in place to stop the import of “illegal” meat. He said: “We feel it is imperative for retailers to ensure they have robust and reliable policies to guarantee to their customers, as well as producers, that the pork and bacon they are using meets the EU’s legal requirements.”

In light of recent visits to a number of supermarkets to inspect what pork and bacon products were on sale, Ferguson said the UFU saw mixed results. “If retailers source reliably from local pig producers that have been compliant with the sow stall ban for more than 13 years, it would send out a very strong and positive message to both local consumers and the Northern Ireland pig industry,” he said.