A farmer has been forced to slaughter hundreds of piglets due to staff shortages at the local slaughterhouse, leaving too many piled up on his farm.
The Yorkshire cattle rancher, who has not been named, took the drastic measure because slaughterhouses weren’t killing them fast enough.
A friend said he was “devastated” by having to kill “perfectly healthy, viable piglets” because of the backlog.
It comes as the National Pig Association warned that the UK is very quickly heading for an ‘acute welfare disaster’, with the country facing a ‘mass culling’.
Chairman Rob Mutimer said the country is just weeks away from farmers having to shoot pigs when they run out of space.
Meanwhile, the National Farmers’ Union warned that 150,000 animals will be culled in the next ten days.
A shortage of butchers forces farmers to ‘throw pigs in the trash’ because they cannot be slaughtered and cut.
The meat crisis exacerbates the misery caused by a lack of truck drivers and fuel, as well as a labor shortage that will lead to a ‘clear lack of choice’ this Christmas.
The Yorkshire rancher, who has not been named, took the drastic measure because they didn’t kill the animals fast enough (file photo)
A friend of the Yorkshire farmer told the BBC: ‘He had to kill perfectly healthy, viable piglets. It’s desperate.
“I’ve been producing for 26 years and have never had the prospect of slaughtering pigs on my own farm.”
Reiterating his woes, Mr Mutimer of the National Pig Association said the UK was heading for an ‘acute welfare disaster’ very quickly.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘The problem in the industry has gotten considerably worse over the past three weeks.
“We should really start thinking about a mass slaughter of animals in this country in a few weeks.”
He said pig farms of all sizes are running out of space to keep their animals, “which is a real concern in the winter.”
When asked what a culling situation would entail, he said: “It’s either shooting pigs on the farm or taking them to a slaughterhouse, killing the animals and actually putting them in the container at the other end of the farm.” throw chain.
‘These animals do not end up in the food chain. They will either be returned, or if not, sent for incineration. So it is an absolute mockery.’
Mr Mutimer said his pigs usually weigh around 115kg when they go to slaughter but now weigh around 140kg.
He added: ‘The pens and the sheds and everything just aren’t designed for animals of this size and we’re moving towards an acute welfare disaster really, really quickly.’
Britons were warned today that a Christmas ‘nightmare’ is looming as the growing list of items that will be in short supply by December 25 expands to include pigs in blankets, hams and feasts. Turkeys, drinks, toys and furniture will also be hard to come by
The shortage of labor in slaughterhouses has been attributed to the coronavirus pandemic and some are pointing the finger at Brexit.
Nick Allen, of the British Meat Processors Association, said the workforce in large slaughterhouses would normally be 10 to 15 per cent above average at this time of year.
But he said it’s 15 percent lower, meaning pigs on the farms are increasing and some farmers are “quietly starting to cull.”
They are forced to do this because pigs that are too large do not fit in supermarket packaging.
Mr Allen said: ‘The main barrier is labour, with the change in immigration policy. We’re having a hard time getting butchers in particular, and it’s limiting how fast you can run the factory.
‘We offered higher wages, but with the labor market at the moment, that’s not working. We do need access to some non-British labour.’
The British Meat Processors Association said 1,000 EU butchers are still 14,000 short of the 15,000 the country needs.
This means companies are focusing on supplying supermarkets with simple cuts of meat such as bacon, steaks and chops.
A BMPA spokesperson added: ‘We should have been producing Christmas food from June or July this year and so far we haven’t, so there will be shortages of party food and things like pigs in blankets. Everything that is labour-intensive work can see shortages.’
Hire petty offenders to drive trucks during a fuel crisis, says Raab
Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab has suggested that violators who have received community sentences could be used to address the lack of truck drivers in the country amid lingering concerns about fuel shortages.
Mr Raab, who became justice minister during Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s recent reshuffle, has rejected Labor’s call to issue 100,000 migrant visas to supply enough drivers.
The former foreign minister said the move would make the country dependent on labor from abroad in the long run, suggesting instead that the gap could be filled in other ways.
“We have been getting inmates and offenders into volunteering and unpaid work,” Mr Raab told The Spectator, in comments from The Times. ‘Why not if there are shortages, encourage them to do paid work where it benefits the economy, benefit society?
“If you give people skin in the game, give them something to lose, if you give them some hope, they’re much less likely to repeat themselves.”
Customers were told this week that a host of items — from turkey to beer — are under threat this Christmas amid the supply chain crisis.
British families may also struggle to find toys and sofas or get them delivered in time for the day.
Ministers can already not guarantee that there will be no shortages this Christmas with serious problems in the meat sector.
The cabinet is now considering easing visa restrictions for up to 1,000 foreign butchers to avert the crisis.
But The Times claims Priti Patel opposes it and is concerned they are being pushed by British industry to go back to pre-Brexit freedom of movement.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Interior said: “We are closely monitoring the labor supply and are working with industry leaders to understand how best to alleviate certain bottlenecks. Similar challenges are faced by other countries around the world.
“We want employers to make long-term investments in the UK’s domestic workforce rather than relying on foreign workers.
“Our Jobs Plan helps people across the country retrain, gain new skills and get back to work.
“The Government is encouraging all sectors to make employment more attractive for domestic workers in the UK through the provision of training, career options, pay increases and investment.”
The UK economy has been disrupted by several factors that have been bubbling for months, including labor shortages, new immigration rules affecting truck drivers and the ongoing impact of the pandemic.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said he was aware of labor shortages.
He said: ‘We understand the importance of seasonal work and we are aware of the challenges the pig industry has faced in recent months due to the Covid-19 pandemic and labor shortages, and Defra has worked closely with the pig and processing industry. during this period.
“We are closely monitoring the market and will continue to work closely with the industry to explore options to address the pressures the industry is currently facing.”