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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.



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