British Pigs Are Worth It

So I'm spending another Saturday sick in bed thanks to little children and their diseases, with the complicity of parents who won't do their duty to public health and keep them away from the rest of the world. And, yes, I'm grouchy.

I'm catching up on the latest issue of The Spectator, when I come across one of these newly fashionable kinds of full-page adverts. I can only properly describe them as theses of capitalist victimhood. If you live in Britain, you probably know the kind of thing:

"we poor business people are so oppressed by the market that you should feel bad for us and ask your MP to, directly or indirectly, give us some of your money just so we can stay in business because don't you think we deserve to?"


This time, it's the turn of another subset of the British farming community with an overblown sense of their own entitlement to profit: the pig farmers, marching under the wonderful slogan of British Pigs Are Worth It:

British consumers are more concerned than ever before about where their food comes from. When it comes to pork, bacon, sausages and ham, the Pigmeat Quality Standard Mark delivers excellent standards of welfare. That means the pigs are welltreated and provided with high quality feed.

In fact, feed – mostly wheat – is about half the cost of rearing a pig. But wheat prices have rocketed worldwide: as a result, pig farmers’ businesses – which get no subsidies – are under serious threat.

Due to price pressure from supermarkets, farmers are now being paid around £1.10 per kg for a pig that now costs them £1.44 per kg to produce.

For every pig a farmer rears and sells, he is likely to lose over £20.

This can't go on. Today, we're launching our campaign to press the supermarkets to ensure that pig farmers are paid a fair and sustainable price. Continual pressure on the price of pork, bacon and ham will squeeze the life out of pig farming.

We need the supermarkets to pay an extra 34p per kg to help preserve British pig farming.

If this price rise were passed on to shoppers, it would only mean between 7p and 17p on the pack price of typical pork products.

We think it is a small price worth paying and we’re asking British consumers to back us.


An astonishing whine-o-gram from the first word to the last. Let's look at some of the highlights:

pig farmers’ businesses – which get no subsidies


Really? No subsidies? You poor dears! Welcome to my world. Did you know that software developers don't get subsidies either? Did you know that most businesses don't get subsidies?

Due to price pressure from supermarkets, farmers are now being paid around £1.10 per kg for a pig that now costs them £1.44 per kg to produce.


Ah, the supermarkets. Every Hampstead liberal's night terror. You know, selling something that costs you £1.44 for £1.10 sounds like a really bad business proposition. Maybe it's time to get out of that business?

For every pig a farmer rears and sells, he is likely to lose over £20.


Dear farmer, what are you? A charity donor? If you're losing £20 on every unit, why the heck are you in that business? Get out. Now. Build a B&B, turn your farm into a quad-biking course, start clay pigeon shooting days, just stop throwing those £20 notes in the bin, okay?

We need the supermarkets to pay an extra 34p per kg to help preserve British pig farming.


And British pig farming needs to be preserved, intact, at its current size and in its current structure exactly why? I'm not saying that there isn't a good answer to that question but, "because we're worth it" sure isn't that answer. Neither is "because the evil supermarkets, whom we know you hate too out of some misplaced sense of middle-class self-loathing and social guilt, are pocket-raping us daily". If there's a good reason that every farm needs to be saved, then let's hear it. Don't hide behind these stupid slogans and some vague mythical sense of the inherent nobility of animal husbandry.

I'm honestly sick to death of hearing farmers whine about their lot in life. Nobody made you be a farmer. Nobody forces you to continue to be a farmer. Nobody owes you a living just because of your inherent awesomeness - not Tesco, not me. If the returns on pig farming don't cover the costs, get out of the business.