Interesting non-answer but not as clear as silence

Tweet of the day (for me) AHDB Pork…was the answer to a question I sent in response to their initial tweet on the fact that the pig producers share of the retail price had dropped slightly, by 5% to 35%. This in my book looked more than a ‘slight’ drop being in fact 12.5%, if they meant from 40% to 35%. Although no actual financial value was given. So I politely asked. They replied thus: ‘It is a measure of how the farm-gate prices have moved against retail prices’. How does that answer my question?

In the memorandum submitted by the NPA to the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee Evidence: EV11 as part of ‘The English pig Industry, first report of session 2008-9, Point 10 it reads…’Producers have met significant resistance to price rises that could ameliorate the effects of exceptional feed prices. Where price increases have been achieved at retail, the money has either been very slow in coming back to producers, or never reached them…Producers want to be part of genuinely integrated supply chains where each party gets a fair share of the profit in recognition of their costs and input in delivering the end product.’

This operational observation was made 7 years ago. Today the cause may be different but the effect remains, whatever the market dynamics the pig producer is the first to feel the pinch as evidenced by the AHDB Pork original tweet. A drop of 0.5% might be considered slight, 5% a real threat and 12.5% significantly damaging if sustained.

This week in the Weekly Tribune I wrote this within a piece on the subject of ‘Industrialised High Welfare’; ‘I have two questions for Red Tractor. What is your definition of castration and what are you doing about the very real welfare issue of the consequences of early sexual maturity in growing pigs and the large scale lack of segregation in the latter stages of finishing? There is a fear of the misinterpretation by consumers of the risk of this chemical intervention to delay a natural function, which doesn’t actually appear to exist. The ‘QA’ inconsistency is breath taking because nowhere in the Red Tractor canon is there any preventative measure for the combined housing of mixed sex finishing pigs. The consequences of this could not be misinterpreted by anyone who understands basic biology.’

I wonder how Red Tractor will differ in style from AHDB Pork, every genuine concern and question I have been privileged to publicly ask BPEX and now AHBD Pork has been met with a non-answer or silence. However and to be fair I have found board members I have questioned to be very helpful, in the past.


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