The deputy president of the National Farmers Union (NFU) has outlined concerns that the UK will not have a pig industry in five years if the country continues to import lower welfare pigs from other EU countries.

Speaking at IFE yesterday (14 March), Meurig Raymond said: “We’re not going to have in a pig industry in five years if we continue importing product that is not to our standards”.

Raymond added that the UK pig industry is at a “huge disadvantage” against the rest of the EU, with farmers still using stalls and tethers and GM feed, which means that people need to “pay accordingly”.

Jim Paice, the UK minister for agriculture and food, said that consumers need to pay more for food today to be able to sustain the sector in the future. “The ability of farmers to absorb a GBP20 a pig loss is not sustainable,” he said.

However, British Retail Consortium director of food policy and sustainability Andrew Opie said that consumers have a lot of choice and, given the current economic climate will shop around, both between supermarkets and between categories. He added that it would be “unrealistic to put it [pork] onto the shelf at [any] price and expect consumers to buy it”.