The History of the BPA:
Imported pig meat threatens domestic production
The 1930s saw a major switch of emphasis in pig production in Great
Britain. Bacon was on everyone's lips and the official word was that
the quality of the home product had to be improved with attention to
grading. Denmark was well established as the major supplier of bacon
to the UK market accounting for more than 60 per cent of all imports
in 1933. The jubilee issue of the Pig Breeders' Annual in 1934
featured a message from the Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Walter
Elliot. "I would like to emphasize," he said, "what I consider to be
one of the most urgent needs - attention to the quality of our home
output of bacon. It must be our firm intention that the quality of
our product shall be and shall remain ahead of that of our foreign
competitors and therefore we must start at the right end - with the
raw material, the pig. I am pleased to note that, during the past
contract period; there has been a steady increase in the proportion
of pigs in the higher grades.
"But there is still plenty of room for improvement and here the
National Pig Breeders' Association has a most important function to
perform. From now on we are going to need all our resources in
breeding stock of proved performance as well as all the assistance
we can get in the dissemination among producers of the best methods
of breeding and feeding for bacon. Only so will it be possible to
hold and consolidate the position we have already gained."
This was the first of several attempts over the years to improve the
international competitiveness of the British Pig Industry in the
face of competition from imported pig meat.
“Pig for Victory” The role of NPBA in World War II
The Second World War stopped this development before it could thrive
and the idea was not revived in the 1940s.The war and the rationing
of feedstuffs during the subsequent years did, however, give a boost
to the membership of the association following the formation of its
Small Pig Keepers' Council to encourage backyard pig keeping to use
kitchen waste and increase the number of pigs kept throughout the
country. The scheme was set up by the NPBA and the Ministry of
Agriculture, with Alec Hobson as secretary of the council. A
provision was introduced that registered producers should get a
slightly larger feed allowance than commercial producers - so the
membership of the association grew to more than 11,000 by 1953/54.
The end of rationing naturally reversed the trend and membership
began to fall away.