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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

40,000 pigs ‘culled and meat wasted’ due to industry crisis, farmers say

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F

arming needs “certainty, commitment and consistency” from the Government to avoid more crises like the one engulfing the pig industry, agricultural leaders are warning.

National Farmers’ Union president Minette Batters will tell her organisation’s conference in Birmingham on Tuesday that the crisis in pig farming is a “disgrace” and a “disaster” for the industry which could and should have been avoided.

An estimated 200,000 pigs are backed up on farms because of a lack of skilled butchers to process them, while 40,000 animals have been culled and their meat thrown away, farmers say.

Ms Batters will tell delegates that the Government needs to urgently implement a clear plan for British farming and food production – or face sleepwalking into more and more crises.

A crisis is currently engulfing the pig industry, according to agricultural leaders (Joe Giddens/PA Wire) / PA Wire

She will reveal a report calling for action including commitment and investment from Government and retailers to sell more British food at home and abroad, properly funded sustainable farming payments, and a “dial-up, dial-down” immigration policy.

In her speech, Ms Batters will say: “British farming has a lot to be positive about, to be proud of, and to believe in; our high standards of food production, our net zero ambitions, our education programme which reached a third of a million children last year.

“But Government does need to understand that we need certainty, commitment and consistency.

“We need a plan that pre-empts crises rather than repeatedly runs into them. The current situation in the pig sector should have, and could have, been avoided.

“There are currently 200,000 pigs on contract backed up on farm. 40,000 healthy pigs have been culled and simply thrown away.

“This truly is an utter disgrace and a disaster for the pig industry.”

Ms Batters will blame the Government’s “poorly designed change to immigration policy”, and a lack of understanding of how food production works, for the crisis.

40,000 healthy pigs have been culled and simply thrown away. This truly is an utter disgrace and a disaster for the pig industry.

And she will urge: “This country needs a strategy and a clear vision for what we expect from British farming.”

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