UK pig farming has been branded a ‘disgrace’ and a disaster as it is revealed that 40,000 healthy pigs have been ‘culled and meat wasted’ due to the ongoing industry crisis.
Speaking at the National Farmers’ Union conference in Birmingham later today, president Minette Batters is expected to say that the pig farming crisis is a “disgrace” and a “disaster” for the industry, which should have been avoided.
Currently, around 200,000 pigs are backed up on farms because there is a lack of skilled butchers to process them. A further 40,000 animals have already been culled and their meat thrown away.
The crisis has been ongoing since October 2021, when farmers first warned of the growing backlog. Since then, the NFU and the National Pig Association (NPA) have urged the government to discuss labour and supply chain issues, highlighting the need for “certainty, commitment and consistency”.
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 crises. Her speech is also expected to blame the crisis on the government’s “poorly designed change to immigration policy”, and a lack of understanding of how food production works.
She will outline that: “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.
“This country needs a strategy and a clear vision for what we expect from British farming.”
The conference will also launch a report calling for 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.