Bacon may be the nation’s favourite food, but Britain’s pig-farming industry is in crisis, with one in 10 farmers on the brink of giving up because they can’t afford to feed their animals unless they see a fair price from the supermarkets before Christmas. This equates to a loss of 8,000 sows, which translates into 80,000 rashers, 128,000 pork pies and some 1.2 million sausages. The National Pig Association (NPA) is trying to raise awareness about the problems caused for farmers by this year’s difficult harvest, and is urging people to buy British. It points out that Britain is only 25% self-sufficient in bacon because most is imported, despite the fact that this country has higher standards of animal welfare.

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Next year, imported bacon is likely to become more expensive when more stringent EU welfare rules take effect, which is likely to reduce pig production in Europe. The NPA says the British industry is ‘on a knife-edge’ because pig feed is becoming so expensive-it takes eight months to produce a bacon pig and another six for the higher production costs to be reflected in retail prices, so farmers are unable to react quickly to market changes. ‘If supermarkets see a surge in demand for British produce, it will persuade them to pay our farmers the few extra pennies per kilo they need to cover their soaring feed bills,’ explains the NPA’s Zoe Davies. ‘Shoppers have been loyal to British farmers in the past, so we’re asking them to look for the Red Tractor logo.’

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