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Stop the BPEX elections, demands Levy Board UK

by 5m Editor
23 March 2007, at 4:38pm

U.K - The English pig industry has flatly refused to tolerate undemocratic interference in its affairs by Levy Board UK.

Levy Board UK is the organisation that is setting up the new 'sector' board that will replace BPEX next year.

Its chairman John Bridge attended the January meeting of NPA's Producer Group and indicated that the pig industry could continue to select the BPEX board by election (as opposed to appointment).

But now Levy Board UK is proposing that all sector boards - including BPEX2 - be appointed, not elected.

At this week's NPA Producer Group meeting members unanimously rejected this attempt at interference in pig industry affairs by an unelected body appointed by Defra.

BPEX2 chairman-designate Stewart Houston explained the situation rather more diplomatically than I have described it here.

But members were clear they would not tolerate a Defra dictat to cease holding elections, and that Stewart must make this point robustly.

From the minutes of the January meeting of NPA Producer Group:

"John Bridge stated that Levy Board UK should not be prescriptive over how sector companies set themselves up. There will be some guidelines over the size of board, and that it should be seen to be representative of the industry as a whole. So for pigs, if the current system they have works, John Bridge is not looking to change that, as he is keen to ensure industry is confident that their sector company is accountable."

National Pig Association, from chairman Stewart Houston down, is clear the elections to BPEX must continue.

BPEX chief executive Mick Sloyan has frequently commented on the greater industry buy-in and involvement with BPEX since elections were introduced five years ago.

At January Producer group meeting John Bridge stopped short of guaranteeing that elections to BPEX could continue, but he promised the issue would be handled with "a very light touch". The pig industry does not feel that banning them is a light touch.

BPISG was instrumental in introducing BPEX elections.

5m Editor