Mass pig culling inevitable if abattoir labour shortage persists, vets warn
Vets working to tackle pigs’ overcrowding in farms have said Prime Minister Boris Johnson is not taking the abattoir labour shortage seriously, and soon ‘mass culling’ would be the only option left to farmers.
Duncan Berkshire, a vet in charge of liasing with the Department for Environment and Rural Affairs to manage the pigs’ overcrowding, said pigs are not being slaughtered fast enough.
He expressed his concern a day after Johnson’s comment to a BBC 4 journalist, who asked him his views on the current overcrowding issue.
“Those pigs, when you ate them, were not alive. I’ve got to break it to you,” Johnson said yesterday, while mentioning that his family once was engaged in pig farming.
Berkshire termed the statement “extremely disappointing”.
“Unfortunately those discussions are around the horrific case where we are looking at not only when, but also how, we will have to enact a cull of healthy animals which would then just go for incineration,” Berkshire told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, as per a report in BBC.
“He is unable to see the difference between what we have as a UK supply chain… (and) the absolute abhorrent food wastage that will be the case if we end up having to shoot healthy pigs,” he added.
Farms are struggling to control the crowding of pigs. The problem is being attributed to shortage of abattoir workers post-Brexit.
Some 600 pigs have already been shot, the National Pig Association said today.
Fears are being expressed that at current rate farmers will be forced to shoot healthy pigs en masse if not managed.
Zoe Davies, chief executive of the National Pig Association, said government needs to lower the abattoir labour eligibility which is currently on par with a vet and a doctor.
She also suggested that it should ease English language requirement for such labourers.