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Cotswold MP spots an opportunity to fight for local pig farmers

Cotswold MP Geoffrey Clifton-Brown has lent his voice to the cause of local, independent pig farmers fighting to protect their product's pedigree against unfair competition from large scale retailers.

Members of the Gloucestershire Old Spot Pig Breeders' Club (GOSPBC) produce a type of pork and bacon from amongst the rarest of British pigs which is highly regarded by chefs and food writers for its high eating quality. Like other independent farmers, they face rising production costs due to more expensive wheat and pig feed supplies.

Independent farmers like members of the GOSPBC also face unfair competition practices from large supermarkets. These supermarkets habitually sell crossbred or mongrel products under specific breed names, which severely disadvantages independent farmers. These farmers cannot compete with the cheaper costs offered by the supermarkets and there is detriment to the branded value of the pedigree product, in this case Gloucestershire Old Spots bacon.

In light of the situation Mr Clifton-Brown has endorsed a consultation between Waitrose and the GOSPBC as a means of resolving the issue in a cordial manner. Such a consultation may set a precedent for future practices and in doing so protect the livelihoods of other small-scale producers.
Mr Clifton-Brown has also supported the efforts of the Gloucestershire Old Spots Pig Breeders' Club in obtaining the issuance of a Traditional Speciality Guaranteed (TSG) certification for their products from the European Commission. A TSG would provide powerful legal protection for Old Spots pork and bacon from dishonest and unfair competition practices in the future.

"I have long been an advocate of independent pig farmers' rights and find the latest practice troubling. Small scale producers are put at a significant disadvantage alongside large supermarkets when practices such as this take place"

The Gloucestershire Old Spots Pig Breeders Club was established in 1990 to promote the breed and help breeders.
The Gloucestershire Old Spots Breed Society was formed in 1913. The originators of that Society called the breed "Old Spots" because the pig had been known for as long as anyone could remember. The first pedigree records of pigs began in 1913, much later than it did for cattle, sheep and horses because the pig was a peasant's animal, a scavenger and was never highly regarded. No other pedigree spotted breed was recorded before 1913, so today's Gloucestershire Old Spots is the oldest such breed in the world.

Source: Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP (Cotswold) & Gloucestershire Old Spots Pig Breeders Club

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