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Winnie continues to help needy farmers

by 5m Editor
7 June 2007, at 8:48am

UK - An inscribed, signed special edition (50 prints) of 'Winnie the Pig', published by The Historic Art Company is the pig industry's contribution to the Royal Show charity dinner and auction to be held next month.

The inscription reads:

"She may be gone, she may be back; her demo days aren’t done. Farmers’ protests get it right; peaceful, just and fun.”

Proceeds from the auction will go to the work of the Arthur Rank Centre, which includes:

  • The Rural Housing Trust
  • Farm Crisis Network
  • ARC-Addington Fund
  • The Centre for Studies in Rural Ministry
  • Computers for Rural People
  • Hidden Britain Centres
  • National Care Farming Initiative
  • Rural Stress Helpline and support for migrant workers.
The limited editon of Winne, which is up for auction next week

From February 3, 2000, to May 8, 2000, Winnie was the key player in the English pig industry’s Parliament Square Vigil.

She lived in a pen on the lawn in the centre of Parliament Square, directly opposite the Houses of Parliament. Her key minders – who tended her 24 hours a day, and on cold nights slept in her hut with her – are the signatories to this special edition print.

The vigil was held to alert Members of Parliament to the plight of pig-keepers.

Many were threatened with ruin as a result of unilateral legislation introduced by government, which put them at a disadvantage with the rest of Europe… and by greedy supermarkets, several of which imported cheap low-welfare pork and presented it on their shelves as British.

Thanks partly to Winnie, the pig industry is in a far healthier position today. Generally speaking, supermarkets no longer try to pass off cheap foreign pork as British and four have a policy of selling only British fresh pork: M&S, Waitrose, Budgens and the Co-op.

During her vigil, Winnie was visited by many Members of both Houses including William Hague and Seb Coe. She also met Tara Palmer Tomkinson, Ken Livingstone, his opposition candidate Steve Norris, and the Westminster Town Crier, Peter Moore (who became a firm favourite with her).

The tour buses announced her as they passed by and her dung provided minerals for No 10's roses and tomatoes - at least for a week, until Tony Blair thought better of it.

Winnie’s adventures included attempting to stand for Mayor of London, and making an appearance on the steps of the Royal Courts of Justice when the pig industry took the Ministry of Agriculture (now Defra) to Judicial Review.

Clearly taking a pig to the Royal Courts of Justice was an act of contempt. The conversation went like this…

Police: Get that pig off those steps now or we’ll arrest you.

Winnie’s guardians: If you arrest us, you’ll have to look after Winnie in all this traffic. Can you do that?

Police: Point taken. But please don’t take her right into the court buildng.

Everyone loved Winnie, including the Metropolitan Police. Unfortunately the grass area in the middle of Parliament Square was under the jurisdiction of the Royal Parks Police, who tried every trick in the book to get her shifted, but failed.

When the pig industry ended its vigil, some unknown villans felt they should leave the Royal Parks Police a memento and on the night Winnie disappeared, a two-ton sculpture involving a gestation crate and quite a lote of concrete, appeared in her place.

Winnie now enjoys retirement at a place called Vitality Farm where she is head pig. She has a grand-daughter called “Mini” who might appear in Parliament Square any day now... just as a reminder to MPs never again to mess with the English pig industry.

5m Editor