Situation in UK pig farming is ‘sickening’ as mass culling continues

UK pig farming, Mass culling of pigs in UK
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Farmers in the UK are now have started resorting to “soul-destroying” move of carrying out abortion procedures on pigs because they can no longer cope with backlog of animals on farms, stated recent reports, as farmers, vets and the industry alike have called on the current scenarios as the worst culling of healthy animals in the history of UK pig farming, describing the situation as “sickening”, “unforgivable” and a situation caused by “human error”.

The UK has been facing the extreme shortage of butchers owing to Brexit due to which meat processors have been taking around 25 per cent fewer animals than contracted, leaving farmers facing impossible choices to avoid overcrowding and the consequent breach of welfare standards.

As per survey data from the National Pig Association (NPA) reported by Sky News, 11 per cent of farmers have already culled healthy pigs, with a further 10 per cent saying they will need to do so within the next two weeks.

Although only 16,000 such kills have been logged with the NPA, this figure is based on self-reporting and is likely a an underestimate, with the reality more likely thousands, possibly tens of thousands killed but not destined for the food chain a week.

Farmers have been warning for many months that the labour shortage could result in culling if an intervention wasn’t taken, and many are taking extreme measures to find alternative accommodation for their pigs to avoid It.

A combination of Brexit and the pandemic has left the meat processing industry chronically short of staff since the summer, with many migrant workers who used to fill these roles having gone home.

The British Meat Processors Association says it is still between 15-20 per cent down on the staff it needs.

In an attempt to ease the crisis, the government last month announced the introduction of 800 visas for foreign butchers, a slaughter incentive payment and extra funding for private freezer storage the idea being that slaughtered pig carcasses could be preserved this way and butchered at a later date to help clear some of the backlog of animals on farms.