World News4,500 pigs to be slaughtered within days due to...

4,500 pigs to be slaughtered within days due to staff shortages


- Advertisment -spot_img

A critical shortage of butchers means healthy pigs reared for food are now being disposed off for nothing (Picture: Shutterstock/AFP)

Thousands of pigs are set to be killed and disposed of in the coming days because there aren’t enough workers to process the meat.

The pig farming industry is facing a staffing crisis that means animals which were due to be butchered for food will now be culled en masse because they can’t be processed. 

Around 4,500 animals are set to be slaughtered this week but the total could spiral in the coming weeks.

Earlier this month, industry leaders warned as many as 120,000 pigs may need to be disposed of if the situation doesn’t improve.

Boris Johnson has attracted the ire of the industry after suggesting the animals would have become ‘bacon sandwiches’ anyway.

The government has resisted calls to issue temporary visas to alleviate staff shortages after it announced similar schemes for lorry drivers and poultry processing workers.

Ministers are pursuing a strategy of restricting UK businesses’ access to foreign labour in an attempt to drive up domestic employment and wages.

A pig stands in it's pen at Wicks Manor Farm in Maldon, south east England.
The government has resisted calls for visa rules on foreign food processing workers to be relaxed (Picture: AFP)

But pig farmers say the situation is now critical and mass culls are on the horizon.

Minette Batters, president of National Farmer’s Union, told the Daily Mail: ‘This is not shroud waving. This is a very, very challenging situation for pig farmers. 

‘We are potentially looking at the end of the size of the pig farming structure we have in this country unless we sort it.’

A shortage of butchers means pig farms are filling up with animals which should already be in the food supply chain and which farmers can’t afford to feed.

The backlog means the weight of pigs which are being butchered is higher than average, which also adds to farmers’ costs.

An aerial view of a pig farm in Norfolk.
At least 600 pigs have been culled already and that looks set to rise steeply this week (Picture: PA)

Earlier this week, pig vet Duncan Berkshire described the prime minister’s remarks as ‘enormously disappointing’.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘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.

‘We are already at a few hundred at the moment. But if we don’t get movement soon on the backlog of pigs that is present on farms at the moment, we are going to have to enact some of these more drastic actions.’

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at

For more stories like this, check our news page.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest news

Stand Up To Cancer viewers sob as Tom Parker details being alone when he found out he had a brain tumour

Viewers of Stand Up To Cancer were left in tears watching The Wanted’s Tom Parker detail his brain...

Great-grandma left lying in the rain during nine-hour wait for ambulance

Health bosses have apologised after an elderly woman was left lying on the ground waiting for an ambulance in...

I’m A Celebrity 2021 cast ‘revealed’ courtesy of Ant and Dec

I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! contestants for the 2021 series were teased over on Ant...

Hundreds of homes buried in toxic black ash as volcano erupts on Spanish island

Hundreds of homes have been covered in a blanket of toxic ash following volcanic eruptions on the Spanish...
- Advertisement -spot_imgspot_img

Lizzo’s not here for haters as she claps back at critics of her see-through mesh dress: ‘Kiss my a**’

Lizzo has hit back at critics of the see-through mesh dress she wore to Cardi B’s birthday party,...

Osun APC State Congress: Oyetola appeals for peaceful exercise

The Osun State Governor, Adegboyega Oyetola has asked members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state...

Must read

Great-grandma left lying in the rain during nine-hour wait for ambulance

Health bosses have apologised after an elderly woman...
- Advertisement -spot_imgspot_img

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you