LONDON In what they say is a last-ditch attempt to save the country's pork industry, dozens of pig farmers gathered in London on Thursday aiming for an Internet hit with their song "Stand by your Ham".
The song -- which reworks Tammy Wynette's "Stand by Your Man" with a porcine theme -- is intended to alert the public to a sector that farmers say is being pushed to extinction by greedy supermarket chains and rising feed prices.
"Stand by your ham," runs the chorus. "Sausages, pork and bacon/Help us stay in business/Because our pigs are worth it/Stand by your ham."
With little singing experience but fuelled by enthusiasm and bacon sandwiches, the 20 to 30 farmers hope to rely on affection for traditional pork products from pies to sausages.
It will be available for download from the weekend from the website www.pigsareworthit.com
"It's a lighthearted way of drawing attention to a very serious issue," Yorkshire pig farmer Richard Longthorp told Reuters by telephone from the recording session.
"If this doesn't stop, then as sure as eggs is eggs, the industry is going to disappear."
The farmers say they lose more than 20 pounds a pig after unprecedented rises in feed prices fuelled by soaring global cereal prices due to higher fuel costs, competition from biofuels, increased demand from Asia and drought in Australia.
The National Pig Association says surveys show consumers are willing to pay more to keep high-quality pig farming -- which farmers say puts animal welfare first -- in business. They want politicians to put pressure on retailers.
"Hopefully we will have a couple of stars," said National Pig Association chairman Barney Kay, who penned the alternate words. "I don't think we'll be at the Brits next year but you never know."
(Writing by Peter Apps; editing by Michael Roddy)