NPA expresses concern over mass pig farm protest

The NPA has said it will be speaking to the police and seeking legal advice after 200 protestors descended on a Lincolnshire pig farm on Saturday morning.

The association has warned that this type of protest could compromise biosecurity at a time when the industry is on high alert over biosecurity.

A group calling itself Meat The Victims UK turned up at a farm run by Sylvia Hook on Saturday morning. Around 100 people staged a protest inside one of the farm’s pig sheds, while a similar number protested outside the farm holding banners and placards. The whole event was also live streamed via the ‘Activism on the Road’ Facebook page.

Mrs Hook said she had no idea why the farm, which has very high standards of welfare, had been targeted. She said the protestors caused damage during the protest, including the death of two piglets.

The NPA was in contact with the farmer during and after the protest to try and help her through the situation.

In a statement, NPA policy services officer Lizzie Wilson said: “NPA were horrified by the ‘Meat the Victims’ sit-in staged on Saturday.

“The group of 200 activists not only committed trespass with the aim of intimidating a farming family running a legitimate business, they have also seriously endangered the health and welfare of the pigs which they claim to care so much about. Their irresponsible behaviour will have damaging consequences that the farmer involved must now try to rectify.”

She said the NPA would be seeking urgent advice on how producers should respond if the situation arises again in the future.

“This is a form of protest we have been aware of in other countries. It is concerning to see it taking place here, particularly given the stress and welfare risk to pigs caused by so many people entering pig sheds at once,” she said.

“There are also significant biosecurity implications at a time when the industry is on the highest alert about the potential introduction of African swine fever onto UK farms and the potential disease risk posed by visitors – let alone the impact on farmers and their families who are doing no more than going about their legitimate business.

“We will now be talking to the police and taking legal advice to ensure there is a clear course of action to be taken should the incident be repeated. We will keep members informed.”

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About The Author

Editor of LBM titles Pig World and Farm Business and group editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer. National Pig Association's webmaster. Previously political editor at Farmers Guardian for many years and also worked Farmers Weekly. Occasional farming media pundit. Brought up on a Leicestershire farm, now work from a shed in the garden in Oxfordshire. Big fan of Leicester City and Leicester Tigers. Occasional cricketer.