Dear GOSPBC Members,

First of all let us wish you good health and success for you and your pigs in 2023. We hope we will be able to catch up with a good many of you throughout the coming year.

Today we finalised the Club membership numbers and when we take out honorary members out of the equation, we are now down to less than 100 members, very sad considering we had over 300 in the noughties (2000’s).

We all know them. Those who keep and breed GOS pigs but who do not engage with the issues currently facing the pig sector and regard membership of the BPA a necessary evil and membership of a breed society less of a priority than buying a new pair of wellington boots! So long as their personal interests appear to be unaffected in the short term, they happily let others carry the burden of protecting their breed and the wider pig industry. The issues facing pig keepers and breeders in all sections of the sector have never been more dire and like it or not sooner or later they will affect all of us.

We face the choice of being held back by these passengers and their self interest or we can be propelled forward as a unified, engaged and courageous community committed to high standards and sustainability for our pigs. Those who contribute nothing to this will find little kindness in the judgement of future generations.

Speaking of the future reminds us of the history gone before us. History can be a source of courage rather than nostalgia. There are tough choices and challenges ahead of us but we should take inspiration and resolve from those who went before us. Richard Lutwyche, Eric Freeman and Joe Henson to name three figures who set about founding the GOSPBC with the goals to encourage and foster interest in the breed, to promote the sale of pedigree stock, to promote the benefits of the breed to existing members and potential pig breeders and to market the benefits of GOS meat products. Thirty odd years on these goals are still so very relevant and the point is that the constant challenges we face; public ignorance, indifferent government and the anti-meat brigade are not recent evolutions.

We as a Club try our best to continue to evolve, to educate, to fight for what we know to be right to protect our breed. This is not just a new campaign it is what we do, a minority group in the vast black hole that is British Agriculture. The GOSPBC is battle hardened and continues to adapt and overcome the challenges we face. Our foes come in all shapes and sizes and the legacy of our founders shows it is courage, foresight and determination that will define the future of our breed.

We do realise there are those of you who DO contribute either through promoting your GOS meat businesses, or going showing or working on the committee or behind the scenes but to survive and continue our work we need more of you to get involved bringing fresh ideas and solutions to the table.

The annual breed survey figures will be released in due course and undoubtedly 2023 will be make or break for some. Thankfully GOS numbers have always been relatively ‘buoyant’ and the GOS in this respect is one of the ‘luckier’ breeds but we can never be complacent and must continue on the frontline defending and fighting for our breed.

As ever we are here to help and you can find contact details on the Club website. The Club can provide personal advice on any aspect of pig keeping, breeding and management. This is a free service exclusive to members. Calls should be made during office hours or you can email at any time and a reply will be sent back to you by return as soon as possible. Remember all the Clubs committee are volunteers working to reach the goals mentioned previously.

As ever yours sincerely

Mandy Garbutt
Secretary GOSPBC 6th January 2023