Campaigning farmer dies

Published in the Lancashire Evening Post view here

A pig farmer who believed chemicals in animal feed killed his newborn son and destroyed his livelihood has died after two decades of fighting for justice.
Phil Brown, a prize-winning pig breeder at Mid-Fylde Piggeries, Inskip, near Preston, has died at the age of 62 after developing a blood clot while in Chorley Hospital for an operation.

The farmer and his family endured more than 18 years of hell and Phil twice attempted suicide. He blamed his health problems on animal feed.

But, before his death, he managed to re-build his herd and returned to showing his pigs and winning prizes.

His devastated wife Diane paid tribute to the loving family man and vowed that she and their three sons will carry on the fight he started.
She said: "Not only was the chemical in pig feed responsible for the death of our newborn son Robert and causing deformities in our pigs, it has taken my husband away from me, as he only began starting suffering blood clots in 1988 and I am convinced the chemicals are to blame."
"Phil suffered a lot of pain over the last decade, but he left on a high as he got his herd back to winning ways."

Phil went into hospital for an extension of a pin in his leg. He was confined to bed for seven days, but had a history of blood clots and developed another. There will be an inquest into his death.

The couple's anguish began in 1988, when Phil was taken to hospital with blood clots in his lungs. Recovery took two years.

In 1989, the first pigs were born with deformities. In June 1990, Phil complained to his feed provider after noticing the pig food had a "soap-like" smell. Phil was informed that one of the ingredients in the feed was an enzyme apparently used in washing powders. His piglets were all stillborn.
Robert was born on October 29, 1991, nearly four months premature and severely deformed. The couple believed Diane inhaled dust from the feed during her pregnancy.

Phil launched legal action in February 1992. In 1997, a report by the Scientific Committee on Animal Nutrition said the use of the enzyme was "ill-advised". However, legal aid was later withdrawn and the case was thrown out of court in 2001.
The couple could not get hold of evidence and even feared they would have to sell their farm after losing thousands of pounds in their battle.

Phil's funeral was attended by hundreds of people

South West Lancashire Farmer's co-op, who supplied the feed to Mr Brown, say they no longer use the additive in their animal feed.

However, they believe they did nothing wrong and say Phil Brown was not the only pig farmer to have this feed.

Last Updated: 17 April 2007