NFU raises pig sector's struggles on BBC Question Time

Minette Batters said pig producers were 'distraught' with having to cull due to the ongoing labour crisis
Minette Batters said pig producers were 'distraught' with having to cull due to the ongoing labour crisis

The NFU president used her appearance on BBC's Question Time to call for more support for the pig sector as culling begins due to the ongoing labour crisis.

Minette Batters highlighted the workforce difficulties the sector faced and called for the government to act on Thursday's (7 October) programme.

"As far as I am concerned, this is the start and it has to be resolved," she said, "These pigs are under contract to processors and retailers – this doesn’t end.

"They will have to be destroyed on farm via a bolt gun or lethal injection, which is a massive, massive issue for the vets in this country, who are there to save lives, not shoot or destroy healthy livestock."

Culling has already started on pig farms across the country as fears grow that this could become more widespread unless solutions to the crisis are found.

Around 600 pigs have been killed on farms already, according to the National Pig Association (NPA) which fears mass culling could be the 'next stage in the process'.

Mrs Batters said on Question Time that the culling had to be resolved "because this is livelihoods and it is people’s businesses".

"This has been a human disaster for those pig farmers who are absolutely distraught," the NFU president added.

"Unless we are saying to these farmers that we don’t want a pig industry - and do you know what will happen then?

"We will import pigmeat that is produced to lower standards and what will that say to the British consumer who wants to have high quality, high welfare British pork?"

The National Pig Association (NPA) and the NFU have called for the introduction of temporary visas for butchers to increase capacity in pork plants to help ease the crisis.

Retailers are also being urged to prioritise British pork over imported EU pork amid concerns they are turning to cheap pork currently available in larger volumes.